Hornsea is perhaps the most picturesque location at which Tolkien stayed in East Yorkshire. This is largely provided by the natural wonder which is the tree-lined Hornsea Mere – the largest natural freshwater lake in Yorkshire. Hornsea Mere belonged to the Strickland-Constable family whose seat of Wassand Hall lies on the western fringes of the Mere. Margaret Strickland-Constable, the wife of the incumbent at that time, was in charge of the hospital in which Tolkien would later be a patient. Her diaries offer glimpses of life at an Officers’ Hospital, but are also an invaluable record of various Zeppelin raids on the east coast during the war, and inexperienced English pilots ditching their planes in the mere. We will hear more of Mrs Strickland-Constable later. Incidentally the suffix ‘sea’ in East Yorkshire locations, such as Hornsea, Skipsea, Withernsea and Kilnsea does not refer to their proximity to the sea, but to their locations adjacent to freshwater lakes left behind after the last Ice Age. Over recent centuries most of these have either been swallowed up by the eroding coastline, or have silted up, and only the largest at Hornsea is still present today.
Although the musketry camp is assigned to Hornsea, it was actually a 52-acre site based at Rolston, a small hamlet a mile to the south. When Tolkien was transferred permanently from the Musketry Camp 13 miles south-east to Thirtle Bridge, Edith moved out of her lodgings in Hornsea. Phil Mathison has discovered that her final letter from there was dated the 1st of June 1917. For 6 weeks her residence is unknown, and as there is no extant correspondence, the suggestion is that for this brief period they did not need to correspond as they were either able to live together, or lived in very close proximity.