North York Moors CAM

Thursday 9th March 2000

Whitby


 

Whitby as seen today from the A171 road bridge looking north - an unusual feature of the situation of Whitby is that although the town is situated on the east coast of North Yorkshire it actually faces north, a line out between the twin piers reading directly to the North Pole. As a result of this situation it is possible, in high summer, to stand on the cliffs at Whitby and see the sun rise from and set into the sea

The railway line (bottom left) terminates at Whitby after a picturesque journey along the Esk Valley line from Middlesbrough. There is also a connection at Grosmont to the North York Moors Steam Railway which follows a spectacular 17 mile route to Pickering. St Mary's Church and Whitby Abbey are prominent on the east cliff

( I never tire of Whitby and may I apologise now to all 'non-Whitby' fans for the number of times I return to visit the town and put photographs on my pages )

 

The approach to Whitby along Hawsker Lane from a south-easterly direction gives us excellent views of Whitby Abbey

 

St Hilda's Abbey, Whitby, was founded more than 13 centuries ago but was destroyed by Viking raiders in 867. After being refounded in 1078 after the Norman Conquest, building continued over several centuries until the monastery was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1540. In 1763 the ancient nave fell during a great storm and in 1830 the central tower collapsed. As recently as the 1914-18 Great War, the Abbey suffered further damage from a German naval bombardment. However, the ruins are now in the safe hands of English Heritage and are open to the public from 1st April 2000

 

St Mary's Church is situated just a couple of hundred yards west of the Abbey enjoying superb views over the town of Whitby

The earliest part of the church dates from the early 12th century but since that date it has undergone many additions and alterations. It seems likely that the building has been modified in order to withstand the rigours of the north-easterly gales. Unusual in appearance from the outside, the church is perhaps even more unusual when seen from the inside . . .

 

. . . the 17th century roof was made by ships' carpenters whose trade is apparent in the design. Another striking feature is the unique three-decker pulpit which originally straddled the aisle on iron props. Note on the sides of the pulpit are a couple of 'ear trumpets' - apparently the deaf wife of Mr Andrews, who ministered here from 1809-1843, could only enjoy listening to his sermons with the use of these aids !

 

Visit Whitby and you will find many references to Bram Stoker's Count Dracula! The caped count, who as a vampire drank the blood of beautiful women, is allegedly buried in this grave beside St Mary's Church - who am I to argue?

 

The view north-east from St Mary's Church towards West Cliff and Sandsend Ness

 

From St Mary's Church we descend the 199 steps to Church Street - here we are about halfway down looking across the harbour to West Cliff and Sandsend Ness in the far distance

 

Another view across the red roof tops ( and one grey ) to West Cliff

 

Looking back towards the bottom of the 199 steps . . . . . . . .before we turn the corner into Church Street

 

We pass the Old Town Hall built in 1788 and now a craft centre - this was the heart of Whitby Market which, not that many years ago, stretched along both sides of Church Street

 

A little further beyond Church Street is Grape Lane - Captain James Cook lodged and studied in the attic of the end house before embarking on his famous voyages of discovery

 

Finally, staying on the east side of the harbour, we see the lobster pots, all immaculately prepared for the season . . .

 

. . . and the fleet of small boats waiting to take them out to sea

 


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