Whitby is a very historic old town on the North Yorkshire coast.
It is situated at the mouth of the River Esk, and has developed on both sides of the river.
Above the town on the East side, visible for miles, are the ruins of Whitby Abbey. This was founded in the 7th century by St.Hilda, and is where the famous Synod of Whitby was held. This was the conference where it was decided that England should follow Roman Christianity, rather than the Celtic version. St. Wilfrid, who is heavily associated with Hexham and Ripon, was the successful advocate for the Roman party. It is also from the Synod that we have our way of computing the date of Easter.
The Abbey was destroyed by the Vikings, and refounded in Norman times. During the 7th century the Abbey was home to Caedmon, the uneducated cowherd who became England’s first poet.
Close to the Abbey is the extraordinary church of St. Mary’s. Abbey and church are reached from below by 199 steps.
Captain Cook, the great mariner, was apprenticed at Whitby, and it was from here that that he sailed in the Endeavour in 1768. The house where he lived, in Grape Street, is now the Captain Cook Memorial Museum.
Whitby was formerly a centre for the whaling industry, and there is a giant whalebone as a memorial to this on the West Cliff.
Bram Stoker set some chapters of his great atmospheric novel “Dracula” at Whitby.
And as well as all this history, Whitby is also a popular seaside resort.