Robin Hood Bay:
By about the year 1000 the neighbouring
hamlet of Raw and village of Thorpe (Fylingthorpe) in Fylingdales had
been settled by Norwegians and Danes. After the Norman Conquest in
1069 much land in the North of England, including Fylingdales, was
laid waste. William the Conqueror gave Fylingdales to Tancred the
Fleming who later sold it to the Abbot of Whitby. The earliest
settlements were about a mile inland at Raw but by about 1500 a
settlement had grown up on the coast. "Robin Hoode Baye" was first
mentioned by Leland in 1536.
In the 16th century Robin Hood's Bay
was a more important port than Whitby, it is described by a tiny
picture of tall houses and an anchor on old North Sea charts published
by Waghenaer in 1586 and now in Rotterdam's Maritime Museum. After the
Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1540, Whitby Abbey and its lands
became the property of King Henry VIII with King Street and King’s
Beck dating from this time
Robin Hoods Bay, which consists of a
maze of tiny streets, has a tradition of smuggling, and there is
reputed to be a network of subterranean passageways linking the
houses. During the late 18th century smuggling was rife on the
Yorkshire coast. Vessels from the continent brought contraband which
was distributed by contacts on land and the operations were financed
by syndicates who made profits without the risks taken by the seamen
and the villagers. Tea, gin, rum, brandy and tobacco were among the
contraband smuggled into Yorkshire from the Netherlands and France to
avoid the duty. In 1773 two excise cutters, the Mermaid and the
Eagle, were outgunned and chased out of the bay by three
smuggling vessels, a schooner and two shallops. A pitched battle
between smugglers and excise men took place in the dock over 200 casks
of brandy and geneva (gin) and 15 bags of tea in 1779.
Fishing and farming were the original
occupations followed by generations of Bay folk. Fishing reached its
peak in the mid 19th century, fishermen used the coble for line
fishing in winter and a larger boat for herring fishing. Fish was
loaded into panniers and men and women walked or rode over the
moorland tracks to Pickering or York. Many houses in the village were
built between 1650 and 1750 and whole families were involved in the
fishing industry. Many Robin Hoods Bay families owned or part owned
cobles. Later some owned ocean going craft.
A plaque in the town records that a
brig named "Visitor" ran aground in Robin Hood's Bay on 18 January
1881 during a violent storm. In order to save the crew, the lifeboat
from Whitby was pulled 6 miles overland by 18 horses, with seven feet
deep snowdrifts present at the time, cleared by 200 men. The road down
to the sea through Robin Hood's Bay village was narrow and had awkward
bends. The men had to go ahead of the lifeboat to demolish garden
walls and uproot bushes to make a way for the lifeboat carriage. It
was launched just two hours after leaving Whitby and the crew of the
Visitor were rescued on the second attempt.
Robin Hood's Bay is the setting for the
Bramblewick books by the author Leo Walmsley, who was educated
in the schoolroom of the old Wesleyan Chapel, in the lower village.
Robin Hood's Bay is a poem by children's poet Michael Rosen. The main
legitimate activity had always been fishing, but this started to
decline in the late 19th century. These days most of its income comes
from tourism. Robin Hood's Bay is also famous for the large number of
fossils which may be found on its beach and cliff edge.
St Stephens Church in
Robin Hoods Bay Robin Hood's Bay is in the parish of
Fylingdales which contains two churches both dedicated to St Stephen.
The Old St Stephen's Church, Fylingdales, on the hill side at Raw,
above the village, replaced an ancient church which had Saxon origins
and was demolished in about 1821 and was a dependent chapel of Whitby
Abbey. A new church, also St Stephens, was built in 1870 in the
village from the designs of G. E. Street near to the railway station.
Robin Hoods Bay
The town was once served by Robin
Hood's Bay railway station on the Scarborough and Whitby Railway line
which opened in 1885 and closed in 1965. The track of the old railway
is now a footpath and cycleway where you can hire bikes for the day.
The nearest railway station is in Whitby. The town connects to the
A171 allowing access to Whitby and Scarborough. The 93 and X93 Arriva
bus services between Scarborough and Middlesbrough pass through Robin
Hood's Bay. Robin Hood's Bay is the eastern terminus of Wainwright's
Coast to Coast Walk. Robin Hood's Bay is also on the coastal section
of the Cleveland Way, a long distance footpath.