"Ulf had this church built for his own sake and for Gunnvor's soul."
Turning off East Newton Road at Old Dale Road we also passed an angler coming up from the beach and who had been fishing at high tide and he also thought that the was accessible for its length. It was a relief to get away from the traffic and to be back beside the sea.
At the top of the cliff we passed a smallholding with some interesting pigs and goats. Looking back we had a different perspective on the coastal erosion, seeing where bite-shaped pieces of the cliff had toppled in to the sea. For the walk in to Withernsea we dropped back down to the beach to enjoy long, light-infused views to north and south before having to move inland again to go round a caravan park and the houses on the outskirts of the town.
We stopped on the sea front to admire recent work to strengthen the sea defences, including the placement of huge granite rocks from Norway. With the sloping seawall and the strategically placed groynes (all three seen in the photograph to the left) , they are part of the efforts to manage the landfall of the sea. The nature and longevity of the natural threat can be seen in the history of and changes to the local landscape. At the north end of the promenade there is a plaque on the wall that reads:
“Approximately 800 yards offshore from this point lies the site of the 13th Century Church of St Peter’s of Owthorne. (One of the sister kirkes) lost to erosion by the early 19th Century.”
Owthorne and Withernsea each had a church known traditionally as the "Sister Kirks" established in the late 12th century. Withernsea Church was lost to erosion in the 15th century and Owthorne church followed in 1816.
Work began on the pier in 1875 to a design by Thomas Cargill. It opened in August 1877, with a length of 1,196 feet. In 1880, two ships collided with the structure during storms and as a result of one of the collisions a two hundred foot central section was destroyed. The damaged section was repaired with timber instead of the original iron. Subsequently, further storms in 1882 washed away the pier head and saloon. The pier was not repaired on this occasion but still remained open to the public. In 1890 the fishing boat ‘Genesta’ ran in to the pier destroying a substantial part of the remaining structure, reducing it to a length of about 300 feet. There was a further incident in 1893 when another vessel ran in to the pier further reducing the length to fifty feet. The remains of the pier were finally removed in 1903 as part of a reconstruction of the sea wall. The original castle turret-like structures that formed the entrance to the pier have been retained and stand to this day.