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Whitby Abbey has a magnificent location on the headland overlooking the North Yorkshire fishing town. Founded by the Northumbrian king, Oswy there has been an abbey here since AD 657. It was originally a mixed community of men and women under the rule of Abbess Hild, later to be St. Hilda. It became a religious centre of great importance and was the venue for the Synod of Whitby in 664, when the date for the observance of Easter in England was finally settled, after differences between followers of Rome and Celtic tradition.

During the Viking raids in the 9th century the original monastery was destroyed. A new Abbey under Benedictine rule was re-founded in the 11th century but details are sketchy. In the early 13th century, following the trend of nearby monasteries, a new abbey church was begun and built over many years. What remains today are parts of the 11th and 13th century buildings. The abbey suffered the same fate as all the abbeys in England when Henry VIII abolished them in 1538 with the Dissolution of the Monasteries act. The buildings were bought by the Cholmley family, who demolished much of the abbey except the church, and the abbot’s lodging which they used as a house. The abbey is now in the care of English Heritage.

This is quite a classic view of the abbey showing the east façade and exterior of the choir of the church. The South transept which would have protruded on the left no longer exists. The North transept is still there but cannot be seen on this image. I make no apologies for showing this classic view as I really like the reflections in the pond. It takes a bit of manoeuvring to get the full reflection in. Also, because of its position on the headland, nine times out of ten the wind disturbs the pond’s surface. The sea in the background is useful for showing its unique location.
A closer view from a similar POV is in the WS.

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Additional Photos by Kath Featherstone (feather) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7646 W: 399 N: 14391] (51130)
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