If we look at the same area, say 1000 years ago, it was a low-lying, badly drained, foul-smelling, disease-ridden salt marsh, prone to regular flooding by both the River Hull and the River Humber. Early settlers gave it wide berth, preferring the higher land of the Wolds or Holderness. Eventually the river banks were raised by silting up and a group of people led by a man with the Viking name of Skuli, built a settlement here. Since then, Skuli's cottages (this is one explanation of the origin of the name), has also been recorded as Skowlcots, Scowscots, Cowcotes and the present Sculcoates. It was certainly here in the 12th century (a church is first mentioned in 1232), but it could be considerably older. Although not in Domesday Book, it has been suggested that it could have existed as an outlying part of Cottingham.
If raising the banks helped to prevent flooding, it also prevented water from the natural springs, as well as that running off the higher ground of the Wolds, from escaping into the river. It was necessary for channels to be cut to drain away the surplus surface water. As these drains could cross land belonging to more than one landowner, a certain amount of co-operation was needed. For example, the draining of parts of Cottingham across Sculcoates to the River Hull was carried out jointly by the Lords of both Manors. Sluices were required to prevent backflow at high tide at the point where the drain entered the river. These were known locally as cloughs or clows. There was one at Stoneferry (the drain ran alongside Clough Road to a clough near Stoneferry Bridge. There was also another at Sculcoates Gote (the area sometimes referred to as High Flags).
In such a flat landscape, it is understandable that these drains were used as boundaries. From the River Hull in the east, the Sculcoates boundary followed a series of drains which ran southwest from Stoneferry to Beverley Road, westwards along Queens Road towards, Cottingham, then southwards along Princes Avenue. From there, it followed the course of the Derringham Dyke, along Spring Bank to Beverley Road. It has been suggested that it then ran due east and into the River at Sculcoates Gote but the drain was later diverted to run along Prospect Street to supply Hull with fresh water. This could explain why the land between the alleged old and new course of the Derringham Dyke is described in some early documents as being in Myton (the area west of the Old Town) and not in Sculcoates.
Flooding was a constant threat and the people of Sculcoates had to make sure the river banks were kept in good repair. The parish of Cottingham was also concerned about this and caused a bank to be thrown up along its boundary with Sculcoates to prevent the spread of floodwater from Sculcoates.