Sir Cornelius Vermuyden, born Tholen, Netherlans in 1590, was a Dutch engineer who carried out the initial drainage and recovery of the land.  This was started in 1626, by means of digging drainage dykes and leading them to nearby rivers, both natural and man made, in order to drain the land.  The land was more workable but unfortunately, there were swampy, boggy areas left in lots of places.

One of the main land owners of Ditch Marsh in the mid 19th Century was Makin Durham, he lived in Thorne Hall, the building that Thorne Rural District Council occupied until recently, at the rear of Thorne Park on Ellison Street.


Thorne Hall on Ellison Street, Thorne

Thorne Hall still stands as a monument to Makin Durham.  His great, great grand daughter, Catherine Roberts informs us that Makin's daughter, Caroline and her son Frederick, lived in Thorne Hall until they passed away. Emma in 1905 and Frederick in 1913.

Makin Durham's family grave can be found in the old cemetery across the road from St Nicholas Church.  He was a recognised and respected surveyor and civil engineer in Yorkshire and beyond and was referred to as the 'Second Vermuyden'.

He built the Warping Drain on Goole Road which is known as 'Durham's Warp.  This ran across the fields and Goole Road immediately after Bloody Hall to the left and Warp Farm to the right.

The Warping Drain finding it's way onto the moors

The bridge over Durham's Warp on Goole Road was removed in the 1950s and the road levelled.  A more modern drain was then constructed and ran under the road.  A pumping station was built to the left side of the road in order to pump excess water into the old warping drain.

Pumping station on Goole Road

Makin Durham was commissioned under the first Dun Drainage Act of the 1830s, to warp certain areas of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, as he had perfected the adequate and technical procedure of 'warping'. 

This entailed using controlled deposits of river-water-borne-silt, a slimy substance found on river beds, by means of flooding the land with river water at high tide, then after a period of settlement, draining the water back into the river at low tide, so depositing a rich layer of fertile silt over the land, the baron top layer of soil having first been removed. This procedure left the farming land fertile. To carry out this work he formed a company called The Yorkshire Land and Warping Company, in 1840.



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