Statue of William de-la-Pole


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Nelson Street, Kingston upon Hull, HU1 1UU


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Statutory Address:
Nelson Street, Kingston upon Hull, HU1 1UU

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

City of Kingston upon Hull (Unitary Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Statue, 1870 sculpted by William D Keyworth Jnr.

Reasons for Designation

The statue of William de-la-Pole commissioned from William D Keyworth Jnr by Robert Jameson and unveiled 1870, is listed Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Historic Interest * William de-la-Pole: the subject of the statue, Kingston upon Hull’s first Mayor and Baron of the Exchequer, was an important figure in a local and national context and erection of a life-sized statue is testimony to his significance;

Architectural Interest * Designer: William D Keyworth Jnr was a well-respected and a successful late-C19 sculptor on a national level, who has a number of listed statues to his name; * Artistic quality: this statue demonstrates Keyworth’s high quality of work and craftsmanship in an expressive and detailed figure in life-like period costume; * Group value: the statue benefits from group value on two counts – its direct association with the listed Grade II* and Grade II statues of William Wilberforce and Andrew Marvell and for its visual association with the Grade II listed former Pilots Office, the former Corporation Pier Station, and the Minerva Hotel.


Kingston upon Hull gained its first municipal charter from King Edward I in 1299, which was renewed in 1331 when King Edward III gave the townspeople more self-government, in particular the right of electing a Mayor and four Bailiffs, instead of a Warden. The first Mayor (1332-1335) was William de-la-Pole a wealthy wool merchant and royal money lender, who had provided funding for Edward II to mount a military campaign over Gascony against the French, and later lent Edward III money to mount a war against Scotland. William represented Kingston upon Hull in Parliament for a number of years during the 1330s and gained many favours and rewards from the King, including the Manor of Myton. He became responsible for both commandeering and commissioning ships for the King during the Hundred Years War and in 1339, he was created a Knight Banneret, an honour granted for distinguished service in the field. He was also made Baron of the Exchequer, a type of judge who sat in the court Exchequer of Pleas, settling revenue disputes and acting as one of the chief auditors of the accounts of England. William de-la-Pole managed the English Wool Company to enable the King to finance the war; unfortunately, the scheme failed and the King was forced to borrow more money from de-la-Pole, who acquired the estate of Burstwick from the Crown. In the following year, along with others, William was arrested over the failure of the company and his lands were seized by the King. The charge was annulled in 1344, but in 1350 the King renewed the charges, forcing William to renounce his claim to the Manor of Burstwick and in 1354, he was coerced into cancelling all of the King's debts in exchange for a pardon. Over the same period, he established a hospital, Maison Dieu, and he obtained a licence from Edward III for the foundation of a religious house, which was completed after his death in 1366 as a Carthusian Order house dedicated to St. Michael.

Kingston upon Hull born sculptor William D Keyworth Jnr (1843-1902) was a well-respected sculptor, who’s entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB) is testimony to this. He studied sculpture at the South Kensington and the Royal Academy Schools in London, before returning to Yorkshire, where he was in considerable demand producing a wide range of works, including the four stone lions in front of the Grade I listed Leeds Town Hall (NHLE 1255772), the Grade II listed bronze statue of William Grey at Hartlepool (NHLE 1263432), a reclining effigy of Dr Hook, the Dean of Chichester for a tomb design by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in the Grade I Parish Church of St Peter, Leeds, (NHLE 1375046), and a memorial bust of Rowland Hill in Westminster Abbey. Over a period of time, Keyworth was commissioned to sculpt a number of statues of historic figures associated with the history of the town of Hull. The subject of these statues included William Wilberforce Grade II* (NHLE 1197754), Andrew Marvel Grade II (NHLE 1197623) and the un-listed statues of Anthony Bannister and James Clay MP; all of which, were carved in similar style, proportions and materials producing a competent cohesive group of good quality sculptures. As a part of this series of sculptures, Keyworth was commissioned in 1868 by the then Sheriff of Hull, Robert Jameson, to produce a sculpture of William de-la-Pole for display in the Town Hall. When the Town Hall was demolished in 1913, the statues were dispersed to public locations around the city centre; the statue of William de-la-Pole stood for some time at the junction of Jameson Street and King Edward Street, before being moved to its present position in Nelson Street in 1920.


Statue, 1870 sculpted by William D Keyworth, junior.

Materials: marble statue, red granite pedestal and plinth, and a limestone base.

White marble statue depicting William de-la-Pole as a bearded figure in the Gothic Revival style, clad in a hooded cloak, a fur edged tunic, and hoses. He is wearing a belt and dagger and his Mayoral Chain of Office, which protrudes from beneath his cloak, displaying the three-crown crest of Kingston upon Hull; the cloak is slung back over his right shoulder. He stands against a truncated column, with his right hand resting on his hip and holds a scroll in his left hand. The statue has suffered from acid rainwater erosion and has lost some of its details. It is raised on a classically moulded pedestal and plinth, set on a moulded base. The front panel of the pedestal is inscribed: SIR WILLIAM DE-LA-POLE, / KNIGHT BANNERET / FIRST MAYOR OF HULL, A.D. 1332-1335. / AN EMINENT AND MUNIFICENT MERCHANT, / HIS SOVEREIGN'S FRIEND, THIS TOWN'S BENEFACTOR, / LORD OF MYTON AND OF HOLDERNESS, / BARON OF THE EXCHEQUER, / FOUNDER OF THE CHARTER-HOUSE, HULL, / ANCESTOR OF THE NOBLE FAMILY OF SUFFOLK / HE DIED 21 APRIL 1366. The front panel of the plinth is also inscribed and reads: PRESENTED TO THE CORPORATION OF KINGSTON UPON HULL, / BY ALDERMAN ROBERT JAMESON J.P., / MAYOR 1870-1871, 1871-1872, 1872-1873.


Books and journals
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (2005), ref:odnb/110203
Mulcahy, G (Author), Nineteenth Century Sculptors from Hull, (2000), 57-60
150 facts about Hull, accessed 16 December 2016 from
William de-la-Pole (Chief Baron of the Exchequer), accessed 16 December 2016 from


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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