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Whitby

North Yorkshire, England

 
 
 
 

 

 

Whitby`s cobbled streets

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

Whitby

 

 

 

 

 

 
 


Whitby on a steep wooded inlet of the River Esk, offers a delightful combination of fishing port and tourist centre:

Whitby is a town in the borough of Scarborough in North Yorkshire, England, UK and has been part of many historic events over its years. Whitby is now a holiday resort and fishing port, situated 47 miles from York, on the mouth of the River Esk and spreads up the steep sides of the narrow valley carved out by the river's course to the East and West of Whitby town. At this point the coast curves round, so the town ports entrance due north. According to the 2001 UK census, Whitby parish had a population of 13,594.

The earliest recorded name for Whitby was the Old English Streonshal in 656. Streanæshalc, Streneshalc, Streoneshalch, Streoneshalh, Streunes-Alae in Lindissi were recorded spellings between the 6th and 8th centuries, Prestebi, meaning the habitation of priests in Old Norse, is a 9th century name. After the Norman Conquest it was recorded as Hwitebi, Witebi, meaning the white settlement, in Old Norse in the 12th century, Whitebi in the 13th century and Qwiteby in the 14th century.

Oswiu or Oswy king of Northumbria, had been converted to the faith of Christianity, founded a monastery after defeating Penda, the pagan king of Mercia. Oswiu consecrated his infant daughter Ælflæda to the service of God. Oswiu granted 12 small estates for monasteries to be built. One was at Streanæshealh, which became known as Whitby Abbey. Ælflæda entered Whitby Abbey as a pupil and later became abbess. The first abbess, Hild or Hilde was later venerated as a saint and became St Hilda of Whitby . Whitby became a centre of learning and the poetry of Cædmon is an early example of Anglo-Saxon literature. Whitby Abbey was the leading Royal nunnery of Deira, and burial-place of its Royal family. The Synod of Whitby in 664, established the Roman date of Easter in Northumbria at the expense of the Celtic one.

In 867, Whitby Abbey was destroyed by Danish Viking raiders who had landed 2 miles from Whitby at Ravens Hill and attacked the settlement, destroying Whitby Abbey. After the Norman Conquest of 1066, William de Percy ordered that the monastery be re-founded in 1078, dedicating it to St Peter and the now St Hilda. It was in this period that the town gained its current name, Whitby, meaning "white settlement" in Old Norse language.

In the 18th century Whitby became a famous centre for shipbuilding, whaling and many a well known name has been apprenticed in Whitby, such as James Cook who circumnavigated the world 3 times in ships built in Whitby. Whitby also traded in alum and black jet.

Over the centuries, the town has spread inland and onto the West Cliff, where you now find most of the popular guest houses and hotels, whilst the East Cliff, the Haggerlythe is dominated by the ruins of Whitby Abbey and St Mary's Church. Whitby Abbey is now owned and run by the English Heritage, which restored the Banqueting House, the House of Sir Hugh Cholmley, for exhibitions and displays which opened in 2002.

On the West Cliff there is a statue of Captain James Cook, who served his apprenticeship in the town, and the whalebone arch, commemorating the once large whaling industry in Whitby. The whalebone arch is the second such arch, the original is preserved in Whitby Museum, the Whitby Archives Heritage Centre in Pannett Park. By the inner harbour there is a statue commemorating William Scoresby, inventor of the crow's nest, who came from a great whaling family in the town.

Large fossils have been found in the area including entire skeletons of pterodactyls. Whitby is known for its well preserved ammonite fossils, which can be found on the east seashore or purchased from stalls and souvenir shops in the town. Three green ammonites are featured on the coat of arms of the Whitby Town Council. These ammonites are shown with a head carved on, as snake stones, which were sold as religious souvenirs in memory of Hilde who became Saint Hilda of Whitby.

Tourist places to visit within Whitby:

Whitby Abbey Visitors Centre ... The new visitor centre has been placed discreetly behind the fine classical facade of the Cholmley`s House. The Cholmley family acquired Whitby Abbey and its land after the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539 and lived in the Abbey`s lodgings and the gatehouse until they built the Banqueting House, costing the princely sum of £232,000. The money for the development came from a fortune amassed from the local alum industry and Sir Hugh Cholmley`s involvement in building a fortified harbour wall in the English colony of Tangiers.

St Mary`s Church and the 199 steps ... St Mary`s church, on the East Cliff side of Whitby, can be approached by road or the alternative route is to climb the 199 steps of the "Church Stairs" or use the cobbled footpath on its side called "Caedmon's Trod".

Whitby Pannet Park Museum ...  is an independent museum, home to many fascinating collections. The Archaeology Collection displays Bronze Age weapons and Roman lamps amongst other things. The Captain Cook collection contains many historically important artefacts that illustrate his association with Whitby and events of his voyages (1768-1779).

Whitby Market Square ...  Dating back to 1640, and the Town Hall dating from1788, built by Nathaniel Cholmley. This is a lively place with markets held on Tuesday - Saturday - Sunday. There is also a farmer’s market on Thursday where you are able to buy fresh farming produce. The old cobbled streets stretch from the bottom of the Abbey Steps along Church Street, Sandgate (so called because it leads to and borders on the east sands) to the north along Henrietta Street.

Whitby Henrietta Street ...  Was named after Henrietta Cholmley. It is now only a short street in relation to its former glory of 1787 when upward of 1,000 residents lived there. A landslip in 1787, and a succession of further landslips have led to its present length. Here you will find at the northern end of the street, Fortune's Kipper House dating from 1872, founded by William Fortune. The kippers are smoked over oak and beech fires to give their distinctive Whitby Kipper taste and colour.

Whitby Francis Meadow Sutcliffe ... Was an English pioneering photographic artist whose work presented an enduring record of life in the seaside town of Whitby and its surrounding areas in the late Victorian era and early 20th century. You can see and buy many of his pictures in the shop at "The Sutcliffe Gallery, 1 Flowergate, Whitby"

Whitby Jet Shops ... Have been working raw jet and welcoming visitors from around the world since 1860, producing the finest examples of hand crafted Whitby Jet jewellery. From their jet workshops, situated in Whitby’s historic Church Street, skilled craftsmen continue to use only the finest quality Whitby jet, gathered from the local shores.

Whitby Captain Cook Museum ... is in the 17th century house in Grape Lane, where the young James Cook lodged as an apprentice, working for John Walker and his brother Henry. The brothers were Quaker ship owners, engaged in the coal trade between the North-East and London. It was here Captain Cook trained as a seaman, leading to his days in the Royal navy and his epic voyages of discovery.

 

Tourist places to visit outside of Whitby:

Robin Hoods Bay .... The origin of the name is uncertain, and it is doubtful if Robin Hood was ever in the vicinity. An English ballad and legend tell a story of Robin Hood encountering French pirates who came to pillage the fisherman's boats and the northeast coast. The pirates surrendered and Robin Hood returned the loot to the poor people in the village that is now called Robin Hood's Bay.

Staithes .... In 1745-1746, Staithes most famous resident, the young James Cook, born in Marton, worked in Staithes as a grocer's apprentice where he gained his first passion for the sea. He later moved to nearby Whitby where he became apprenticed to a local sea faring family and later joined the Royal Navy.

Pickering .... Pickering is an ancient market town the parish of Ryedale district of North Yorkshire, England, on the border of the North York Moors National Park. It sits at the foot of the Moors, overlooking the Vale of Pickering to the south. According to legend the town was founded by a certain king Peredurus around 270BC; however the town as it exists today is of medieval origin.

Grosmont ....
Grosmont is home to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway's engine shed and the North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group's workshop, where the staff and volunteers maintain and restore the steam and diesel locomotives. You can take the steam train from Whitby to Grosmont onto Pickering.

Glaisdale .... Glaisdale is a village close to Whitby, North Yorkshire, England. It lies on the River Esk, between the villages of Lealholm and Egton Bridge, 8 miles  west of Whitby, and is served by Glaisdale railway station on the Esk Valley Line of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. The village lies on the national hiking trail the Esk Valley Walk.

Goathland .... Goathland is a village close to Whitby,  North Yorkshire, England. It is in the North York Moors national park situated due north of Pickering, off the A169 to Whitby. It is surrounded by beautiful scenery, and has the advantage of having a station on the steam-operated North Yorkshire Moors Railway line to Pickering.

Lealholm .... Lealholm, sometimes known as Lealholm Bridge, is a small village in the Glaisdale civil parish of the Borough of Scarborough, in North Yorkshire, England. It is sited at a crossing point of the River Esk, in Eskdale which is within the North York Moors National Park. It is 9 miles by road from the nearest town of Whitby.

North Yorkshire Moors Steam Railway .... The NYMR carries more passengers than any other heritage railway in the UK and may be the busiest steam heritage line in the world, carrying around 350,000 passengers in 2009. The 18-mile railway is the second-longest standard gauge heritage line in the United Kingdom and runs across the North York Moors from Pickering via Levisham, Newton Dale and Goathland to Grosmont. It is the middle section of the former Whitby, Pickering and Malton line which was closed in 1965 as part of the Beeching cuts. The NYMR is owned by the North York Moors Historical Railway Trust Ltd (a Charitable Trust and Accredited Museum) and is operated by its wholly owned subsidiary North Yorkshire Moors Railway Enterprises Plc. It is mostly operated and staffed by volunteers.

 

Other Tourist places close to Whitby: Visit these Websites below:

Castle Howard
Eden Camp
Flamingo Land
Helmsley Castle
Pickering Castle
Scarborough Castle
Jorvik Viking Centre in York
York Dungeons
 

 

 
 
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