Accommodation Restaurants Places of Interest Places to Visit People of Interest Tourist Info Picture Gallery Brochure Web Advertising Link Partners Free Hosting Home


Robin Hood Bay

Whitby Villages

Robin Hood Bay


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.

Robin  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 Hood Bay  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.