HEDON, a municipal borough in the Holderness parliamentary division of the East Riding of Yorkshire, England, 8 m. E. of Hull by a branch of the North-Eastern railway. Pop. (1901), 1010. It stands in a low-lying, flat district bordering the Humber. It is 2 m. from the river, but was formerly reached by a navigable inlet, now dry, and was a considerable port. There is a small harbour, but the prosperity of the port has passed to Hull. The church of St Augustine is a splendid cruciform building with central tower. It is Early English, Decorated and Perpendicular, the tower being of the last period. The west front is particularly fine, and the church, with its noble proportions and lofty clerestories, resembles a cathedral in miniature. There are a manufacture of bricks and an agricultural trade. The corporation consists of a mayor, 3 aldermen and 9 councillors; and possesses a remarkable ancient mace, of isth century workmanship. Area, 321 acres.
According to tradition the men of Hedon received a charter of liberties from King AEthelstan, but there is no evidence to prove this or indeed to prove any settlement in the town until after the Conquest. The manor is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey, but formed part of the lordship of Holderness which William the Conqueror granted to Odo, count of Albemarle. A charter of Henry II., which is undated, contains the first certain evidence of settlement. By it the king granted to William, count of Albemarle, free borough rights in Hedon so that his burgesses there might hold of him as freely and quietly as the burgesses of York or Lincoln held of the king. An earlier charter granted to the inhabitants of York shows that these rights included a trade gild and freedom from many dues not only in England but also in France. King John in 1200 granted a confirmation of these liberties to Baldwin, count of Albemarle, and Hawisia his wife and for this second charter the burgesses themselves paid 70 marks. In 1272 Henry III. granted to Edmund, earl of Lancaster, and Avelina his wife, then lord and lady of the manor, the right of holding a fair at Hedon on the eve, day, and morrow of the feast of St Augustine and for five following days. After the countess's death the manor came to the hands of Edward I. In 1 280 it was found by an inquisition that the men of Hedon " were few and poor " and that if the town were demised at a fee-farm rent the town might improve. The grant, however, does not appear to have been made until 1346. Besides this charter Edward III. also granted the burgesses the privilege of electing a mayor and bailiffs every year. At that time Hedon was one of the chief ports in the Humber, but its place was gradually taken by Hull after that town came into the hands of the king. Hedon was incorporated by Charles II. in 1661, and James II. in 1680 gave the burgesses another charter granting among other privileges that of holding two extra fairs, but of this they never appear to have taken advantage. The burgesses returned two members to parliament in 1295, and from 1547 to 1832 when the borough was disfranchised.
See Victoria County History, Yorkshire; J. R. Boyle, The Early History of the Town and Port of Hedon (Hull and York, 1895) ; G. H. Park, History of the Ancient Borough of Hedon (Hull, 1895).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)