Whitby Abbey, Whitby, North Yorkshire, stands on the headland overlooking the town and despit it's importance is more well known for being the location that Dracula first arrives in England in Bram Stokers Dracula.
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Whitby Abbey - Historic Sites - The White Goddess

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Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey stands on the prominent headland overlooking the sea and town of Whitby, despite it's importance as a place of burial and royal church of the Northumbrian Kings and as a place of pilgramage; it is perhaps more well known for being the location that Dracula first arrives in England in Bram Stokers book 'Dracula'.

The monastry was founded as Streoneshalh in 657 by King Oswy of Northumbria after the defeat of Penda, King of Mercia at the Battle of Winwead.  It was established as a monastry for both men and women and was the venue for the Synod of Whitby in 664, where the calculation of the date of Easter was decided.

Hild was the first abbess of Whitby Abbey, she was the daughter of Prince Hereric and much of the source of information about Hild comes from The Ecclesiastical History of the English by the Venerable Bede in 731.  Another important person associated with Whitby, is Cædmon and he is the earliest English poet whose name is known.  He was an Anglo-Saxon herdsman at the monastery of Streonæshalch (Whitby Abbey) during the abbacy of St. Hilda (657–80).

In 867, the monastry was destroyed by Viking raiders and in 1078 the abbey was re-established by Reinfrid, one of William the Conqueror’s knights who had become a monk.  It was in this period that the town gained its current name, Whitby, (from "white settlement" in Old Norse).  From the 1220's onwards an extensive rebuilding programme added the east, north and south trancepts and three bays of the nave, however the remainder of the nave was not completed until the 14th century.  The great west window was added in the 15th century.  This second monastery lasted until it was destroyed by Henry VIII in 1540 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Whitby Abbey

From 1540 onwards the abbey was in the hands of the Cholmley's who held it until the end of the 18th century.  In 1914, Whitby Abbey was shelled by German warships and suffered considerable damage.  In 1920 the abbey came under the management of the Ministry of Works and English Heritage in 1983.

To reach Whitby Abbey from the harbour area of Whitby, one must first climb the 199 Abbey Steps, the very same ones that Dracula took to take refuge in the graveyard at the top in Bram Stokers famous book.

Entrance Prices:
English Heritage Members: Free
Adult: £6.60
Child: £4.00

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Whitby Abbey Comments And Ratings

Current Rating 3.75/5 stars
[4 Votes]

Comments

I lived in Whitby for almost 30 years, the Abbey was on one of my regular dog walks.
The grounds are very atmospheric at night (especially at Full Moon) or on foggy mornings.
Met some interesting people there at such times.

Posted by: Jon on 08/05/2014 00:54:00

 

I love this place.
It is indeed very atmospheric,at night time or when the moon is full,they have festivals here annually.
I too have met some lovely folks here,from many walks in life.

Posted by: Twigs on 15/01/2015 15:41:00

 

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