Whitby on a steep wooded inlet of the
River Esk, offers a delightful
combination of fishing port and tourist centre:
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
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 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
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.
A TRIBUTE to Mr Rex Greenwood of WHITBY- REX COUNT DRACULA - Capt JAMES COOK
Mr. Rex Greenwood, known locally as Mr Whitby, was born near
Barnsley, South Yorkshire. When old enough, he started in the mines,
working his way up to being a ‘winder-man.’
He, his wife Gwen and two daughters moved to Whitby around 1970
where he quickly became a part of the community, taking on the role
of Town Crier. He was also often seen delighting children and
visitors by dressing up as Captain Cook or Count Dracula.
The couple ran the West Cliff Hotel and he also worked for
Cleveland Potash. Apart from his portrayal of Whitby’s favourite
sons Mr Greenwood enjoyed cycling and ballroom dancing, often being
MC at dinner dances. But it wasn’t until he moved to Whitby that he
started to do a lot more charity work.
Mr Rex was the first person to give guided tours dressed as
Dracula. His interest in the character earned him a place on the
BBC1 television series ‘Noel Edmond’s Telly Addicts,’ which can
still be viewed today on YouTube. He was even invited to Australia
with his Captain Cook uniform as part of a special British week
where he was adopted as ‘Captain Cook of Australia’s Endeavour’
replica ship. While in Australia he was also asked to attend a large
exhibition in his Dracula character to help promote the Australian
Blood Bank and the eating of Garlic for health purposes.
Over the years he has used his acting skills to
raise thousands of pounds for Cystic Fibrosis, cancer charities, the
James Cook University Hospital and Scarborough Hospital where he was
treated for thyroid cancer. He was also one of the first people to
be nominated an honorary citizen of Whitby due to his charitable
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
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).
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
... 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
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,
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
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.
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 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 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 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
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, 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.