Wapentake and Petty Sessional Division of Whitby Strand; Poor Law Union, County Court District, and Rural Deanery of Whitby; Archdeaconry of Cleveland; Diocese of York.
This ancient and interesting parish is situated on the coast, and stretches inland some four or five miles. It was formerly of much greater extent, and comprised within its boundaries 28,226 acres, including moorland and seashore. It now includes the townships of Whitby, Aislaby, Hawsker-cum-Stainsacre, Newholm-cum-Dunsley, and Ruswarp, covering an area of 11,054 acres, and containing, according to the census returns of 1881, a population of 15,212. In the township of Whitby there are 2,243 acres of land and foreshore; the rateable value is £19,316, and the population 8,820. Sir Charles William Strickland, Bart., is lord of the manor, and lord paramount and chief bailiff of the Liberty of Whitby Strand. It is 247¾ miles N. by W. of London, 74¼ from Hull, 84½ from Leeds, 35 from Malton, 26 from Redcar, 21 from Scarborough, and 56¾ from York.
The town is built on the slopes of the cliffs at each side of the mouth of the Esk, which forms the harbour of this ancient seaport. Its earliest history is interwoven with that of the abbey erected here upwards of twelve centuries ago, and under the shadow of which it probably sprang into existence. Its name at that time was Streanshalh or Streoneshalh, supposed by some to be the Saxon equivalent of Bede's Sinus fari, that is, Fort or Tower Bay; but Professor Phillips gives Strandshall as the most probable modern form of the old Saxon Streoneshalh, and it would, therefore, signify the tower or fort on the strand. What the nature or purpose of this tower was the venerable historian has not informed us, but as Dunsley Bay, between two and three miles further north, is generally admitted to have been the Dunum Sinus of Ptolemy, where the Romans had a landing place or harbour, it is probable that they may have had a fort or watch-tower on the cliffs here for the protection of the coast from Saxon pirates, who made frequent descents on this part of the coast. It must, however, have been a place of little consequence, as, with the exception of a few coins, not a trace of Roman occupation has ever been met with.
The town, as before stated, owes its origin to the foundation of the Abbey of Streoneshalh, but that name was afterwards superseded by that of Hwytby, or, as now written, Whitby, that is, White Town. About the time of the Norman Conquest a portion of the town, probably that adjacent to the Abbey, appears to have been known as Presteby, that is, Priest's Town; and by this name, and not Whitby, the place is mentioned in Domesday Book. From that invaluable record we learn that the manor of Presteby (Whitby), in the time of Edward the Confessor, was held by Earl Siward, surnamed Barn or the Younger, and was valued with its dependencies at 112; but the devastations of the Conqueror had reduced its value to 60s. Whitby was at that time, and for some centuries afterwards, only an inconsiderable fishing village. Soon after the Conquest the manor was granted to the Abbey, and Abbot Richard, in the year 1180, granted it to the inhabitants, erecting Whitby into a free burgh; but this charter never received the royal confirmation. By the year 1396 the fishing trade of Whitby had become an important industry. But the inhabitants appear about this time to have sometimes resorted to a less legitimate mode of obtaining a livelihood, and it is recorded that, in "1405, July 16, the King ordered some pirates of Whitby to make restitution to two Danish merchants, whose vessels they had taken; but they paid no attention to the mandate, and an officer was now ordered to bring them before the King, that they might answer for their disobedience." There are no data from which we may draw any conclusion as to the size of the town at this time. Leland, who visited it just before the dissolution of the Abbey, describes it as "a great fischer towne," and at that time it is said to have contained less than forty houses and 200 inhabitants, whilst its marine probably numbered not more than three or four small vessels.
The discovery of alum rock in the neighbourhood and the erection of works at Sandsend in 1615, for the manufacture of the alum, gave an impetus to commercial enterprise, and contributed greatly to the prosperity of Whitby. Five years before that date the population of the town, according to the parish registers, was something less than 1,500; in 1690 the inhabitants numbered nearly 4,000, and there were 60 ships of 80 tons burden and upwards belonging to the port. This increasing traffic rendered necessary an extension and improvement of the harbour accommodation. An Act of Parliament was obtained in 1702 and another in 1723, and pursuant to these the piers were rebuilt and extended further seaward, and three dry docks constructed. Shipbuilding, which had been introduced about the beginning of the century, was now an important industry. The vessels were chiefly built for local trade, and in 1734 there were 130 of 80 tons burden and upwards belonging to Whitby. In 1777 the number had increased to 251, besides those that were on the stocks. The population was also at the same time rapidly increasing; better houses were built, and the old timber-and-plaster dwellings began to give place to more elegant houses of brick. Hitherto the town, though easily approachable by sea, could only be reached with great difficulty and no little danger by travellers from other parts of the county. The roads about Whitby lay in a state of nature - rugged, miry, and uneven. "It was dangerous in the winter," says Bigland, "to approach the town on horseback, but still more so with a loaded carriage." But about this time the roads in the neighbourhood of the town were made passable. Turnpike roads were constructed over the vast moors which lay around, and Whitby was, as Mr. Charlton expresses it, brought into connection with the rest of the kingdom. The construction of the railways has brought it into more immediate relationship with the populous districts of Yorkshire and Durham, and now, during the summer season, visitors by the thousand pour into Whitby to enjoy its invigorating sea breezes.
The Abbey. - This abbey, to which we have before alluded, was founded by Oswy, king of Northumbria, in fulfilment of a vow. Penda, the pagan king of Mercia, had year after year, in the words of the old chronicler, "harried all Northumbria," and Oswy finding prayers and entreaties of no avail, and each concession followed by a greater demand, he determined at last to meet the heathen king and his 30 tributary chiefs on the field of battle. With a less numerous force he encountered the host of Penda on the banks of the river Winwed, near Leeds, in the year 655. Before the commencement of the battle Oswy vowed that should victory be his he would dedicate his infant daughter, Ethelfleda, to God, and give 12 portions of land to found as many monasteries. Penda and many of his commanders were slain, and the enemy thoroughly routed. Oswy had vowed to the Lord, and he delayed not to repay it. The child was committed to the care of Hilda, a Northumbrian princess, who at that time presided over a small community of nuns at Heorteu (Hartlepool). Oswy also gave to Hilda 10 hides of land at Streoneshalh (Whitby), where she founded an abbey, that soon became one of the most renowned in the country. The buildings were begun in 657, and the same year Hilda with Ethelfleda and 10 nuns took possession of the new monastery, which was doubtless a very humble structure of wood and thatch.
The abbey was dedicated to St. Peter, though in after years it became better known by the name of its first sainted Abbess, and comprised a convent for monks as well as one for nuns, over both of which Hilda ruled with exemplary piety, firmness, and vigilance. Very little more than this is known of her life. She was the daughter of Hereric, nephew of Edwin, the first Christian king of Northumbria, and her sister was mother of Aldwulf, king of the East Angles. She was baptised by Paulinus in 627 when she was 13 years of age, along with King Edwin and all his court. In that early age, life amidst the deceits of the world was deemed incompatible with complete devotion towards God, and in 647 she quitted the gaieties of the court for the quiet seclusion of the cloister.
Whilst Lady Hilda was Abbess there was held in her monastery at Whitby, in the year 664, the famous synod summoned by King Oswy to fix the time for the celebration of Easter. This festival was observed at one time by the Scoto-Irish missionaries, by whom Northumbria had been chiefly converted, and at another by those Christians who had received the faith from St. Augustine, Paulinus, and the other Roman missionaries. Colman, bishop of Lindisfarne, who championed the former, claimed the authority of St. John for their custom, and Wilfrid, afterwards archbishop of York, at the head of the latter, appealed to the authority of St. Peter. "I will never offend the saint who holds the keys of heaven," exclaimed Oswy, and the synod decreed that the Roman custom should he adopted.
The fame of Hilda's piety, intelligence, and prudence attracted numbers to her monastery, and amongst those educated within its walls six were accounted worthy of the episcopal dignity, Bosa, John of Beverley, and Wilfrid II. became archbishops of York, Hedda, bishop of Dorchester, and Tatfrid and Oftsor, bishops of Worcester. But exalted as was the dignity to which these and others nurtured in her school attained, they do not occupy in the annals of the human mind a place comparable to that held by a simple monk who had previously lived for many years on the estate in the humble capacity of cowherd to the community. "It is on the lips of this cowherd," says the Rev. S. Baring-Gould, "that Anglo-Saxon speech first bursts into poetry, and nothing in the whole history of European literature is more original than this first utterance of the English muse." His name was Ceadmon. He was a plain unlettered peasant, having spent his life until an advanced age in his humble occupation without having learned either music or song, or being able to join in the joyous choruses which held such a high place at the feasts and social gatherings of all classes, both rich and poor, among the Anglo-Saxons as among the Celts. It was the custom at these festal meetings for each one to sing in his turn, but when Ceadmon saw the harp approaching him he would then for very shame rise from the table and retire to his cot. On one of these occasions, after quitting his mirthful friends, he stretched himself to sleep beside the cattle which he tended, and there in the midst of his slumbers he heard a voice calling him by name, saying, "Ceadmon, sing me something." He answered "I cannot sing, and that is why I have left the feast and come hither." "Sing notwithstanding," said the voice. "But what shall I sing?" he replied. "Sing," said the voice, "the beginning of the world, the Creation," whereupon he began to sing verses, of which before he had no knowledge, in praise of the glory and power of the Creator. He related the dream to his employer next day, and repeated the verses which he had sung.
The story of this miraculous gift of song reaching the ears of the Abbess she sent for Ceadmon, and he exhibited before her his newly-acquired power. At the solicitation of Hilda he joined the community under her rule, where he employed his time in transforming Bible stories translated for him by one of the monks, into the English of that early period. As a specimen of the language of Yorkshire at that time we transcribe the following, from the song he sung in response to the voice in his dream, with a modern rendering
Nu we sceolan herian Now must we praise
Heofon-rices weard, The guardians of Heaven's kingdom,
Metodes mihte The Creator's might
And His mod-gethone And His mind's thought;
Wera wulder-fæder! Glorious Father of men!
Swa he wundra gehwæs As of every wonder He,
Ece Drybten, Lord eternal,
Oord onstealde. Formed the beginning.
He ærest gesceop He first framed
Eorthan bearnum For the children of earth
Heofon to hrofe; The heaven as a roof;
Halig Scyppend! Holy Creator!
Hilda died in the odour of sanctity in the year 680, at the age of sixty-six, and was canonized by the Church. Her royal pupil Ethelfleda succeeded to the government of the abbey. Bede, who was about ten years old when Hilda died, has set forth her many virtues in his " Ecclesiastical History of the Anglo-Saxons," but later chroniclers enveloped her fame with many superstitious legends. Sir Walter Scott, in his poem of Marmion, thus refers to some of these tales
"They tell how in their convent cell
A Saxon princess once did dwell,
The lovely Ethelfled;
And how, of thousand snakes, each one
Was changed into a coil of stone
When holy Hilda prayed;
Themselves within their holy bound
Their stony folds had often found.
They told how sea-fowls' pinions fail
As o'er Whitby's towers they sail,
And, sinking down with flutterings faint,
They do their homage to the saint."
These "coils of stone" which are found so plentifully on the coast here, and figure on the Whitby Arms, are the fossil forms of a species of ammonite, and resemble a headless petrified snake. The story ran that the district was infested with serpents, which caused great annoyance, and the people besought the abbess to deliver them from the scourge. She prayed, and the head of each snake disappeared, and in answer to a second prayer each headless form was changed into stone. It was also a popular belief that sea-fowls venerated the ground once hallowed by her presence, and never attempted to fly over Whitby without lowering their pinions and dropping to the ground.*
* Wild fowl naturally alight from fatigue after a long flight over the sea.
The abbey was rebuilt of stone after the death of Hilda, and continued to flourish until A.D. 867, when the Danes, under the command of the brothers Inguar and Ubba, sons of Ragnar Lodbrog, landed at Dunsley Bay, pillaged and destroyed the town and monastery, and laid waste the surrounding country. The monks fled to other houses of their order, and for upwards of two hundred years the abbey lay a desolate ruin. At the Conquest the abbey estate and other lands in the neighbourhood were given by the Conquerer to his nephew Hugh d'Abrincis, first Earl of Chester, who subsequently granted them to William de Percy, ancestor of the Earls of Northumberland. About this time Reinfrid and three other monks had quitted the Abbey of Evesham and journeyed northward, to revivify and invigorate the spirit of monasticism in Northumbria, and restore the monasteries destroyed by the Danes. They first settled at Newcastle (then called Monkchester), where they remained for a short time, and removed thence to Jarrow, where they built themselves huts amongst the ruins of the famous abbey. Here, as their numbers increased, they divided into small bodies, which settled in other places. Reinfrid, with a few associates, departed for Whitby, and was graciously received by William de Percy, with whom he had been a fellow-soldier under the Conqueror before he became a monk. William de Percy granted to the little community the site of the abbey and two carucates of land in Presteby, in perpetual alms for their support; to which were afterwards added four carucates in Soureby, the locality of which is not known.
Reinfrid governed the little brotherhood, under the title of Prior, and began to restore the monastic buildings. But the monks appear to have been sorely troubled in their early years here, for "there came robbers and plunderers by day and by night from the woods and from the hiding places where they lurked, and plundered all their substance, and laid waste that holy place. In like manner, pirates also came and wasted that place, as they had compassion on none."†
† "Register of the Abbey of Whiteby."
Amongst those who assumed the monastic habit under Reinfrid was one Stephen de Whitby, probably a native of the place. He was a man of superior talents and learning, and was chosen by Reinfrid and the rest of the brotherhood as their abbot, whilst Reinfrid still held the title of prior. Probably this appointment did not meet with the approbation of the patron, for, soon after, William de Percy drove away the abbot and some of the brethren. Stephen fled to Lastingham, and afterwards to York, where he founded St. Mary's Abbey. Reinfrid was accidentally killed whilst travelling on the business of his monastery. Coming to Ormesbridge, where some workmen were constructing a bridge over the Derwent, he alighted from his horse to assist them, when a beam fell upon him and fractured his skull.
Serlo, the founder's brother, was the next prior, and his successor, another Percy, obtained the title of Abbot, in whose time the abbey became a flourishing establishment, its possessions, through the liberality of Alan de Percy and others, including the whole district called Whitby Strand. The abbey also possessed many privileges and exemptions. The Conqueror granted to it all such liberties and customs as could be then granted by the royal power to any other church, and he also exempted the monks and their homagers from all tolls throughout his dominions. From Henry I. they also received several privileges, and from the second Henry they obtained a charter for a fair at Whitby, to be holden on St. Hilda's day; he also gave them exclusive jurisdiction in all the woods belonging to the abbey. The Percys were, however, their chief benefactors, but
the Bruces and many other wealthy families added largely to the abbey lands. In addition to the whole of Whitby Strand, there belonged to the abbey considerable estates at Middlesbrough, Ayton, Ingleby, Liverton, Hinderwell, and other parts of Cleveland; at Hutton-Buscel, Cayton, Burniston, and a few other places in Pickering Lythe. Of the more distant possessions, the chief part lay at Newton-on-the-Wolds; Skirpenbeck, near Stamford Bridge; Bustard Thorp, near York; and Crosby Ravensworth, in Westmoreland. Among the ecclesiastical edifices belonging to the abbey were the church of St. Mary and St. Ninians, in Whitby; the chapels of Sneaton and Fyling, which afterwards became independent parishes, Dunsley, Aislaby, Ugglebarnby, and Hawsker. Also the church of Ayton in Cleveland, with its subordinate chapels of Newton, Little Ayton, and Nunthorpe; the neighbouring churches of Kirkby and Ingleby; the church of Seamer, near Scarborough; with the chapels of Cayton and Ayton on the Derwent; the churches of Crosby Ravensworth, Hutton-Buscel, Sutton-on-Derwent, Slingsby, Burniston, Skirpenbeck, Huntingdon, &c. There were cells at York, Hackness, and Middlesbrough belonging to the abbey, and hermitages at Goathland, Westcroft, Eskdale, Mulgrave, and Saltburn.
The abbots of Whitby were spiritual barons, but only two of them, Robert de Langtoft and William de Kirkham, were summoned to parliament. The last abbot was Henry de Vall or Davell, who surrendered the abbey to the Crown in 1539, at which time its gross yearly revenue was stated to be £505 9s. 1d., and net income £437 2s. The furniture, plate, and ornaments were reserved for the king's use, the leaden roof was stripped from the church and sold, along with the timber; and the abbey bells, which for centuries had sounded afar over land and sea, were taken down and shipped for London, but tradition avers that the vessel with its sacrilegious cargo sank outside of Whitby rock, where it yet remains. All the other movable property was sold, the monastic buildings were dismantled, the labours of a lawless mob were called into requisition, and in a few days the whole fabric which had required ages for its completion, was reduced to the state of a mouldering ruin.
"So fell, by no gradual decay, but by sacrilege committed in the name of reformation, a religious house secured by rights derived from every monarch that had preceded Henry upon the throne, a conspicuous and time-honoured monument of Yorkshire piety, a church founded upon a rock, from whose towers the light of religion shone for centuries over stormy seas and lands darkened by human turbulence; a church fenced round not only by solid walls of stone, but by the incorporeal yet enduring power of every legal sanction that sovereigns could bestow, and endowed with privileges to which feudal might and kneeling knighthood bowed."
At the Dissolution Richard Cholmley, Esq., obtained a lease for 21 years of the site of the abbey and several portions of its lands. In 1550, before the expiration of the lease, these were sold by the Crown to John, earl of Warwick, and the following year they were resold to Sir Edward Yorke, from whom they were purchased in 1555 by the above Richard Cholmley, who had, in the meantime, received the honour of knighthood. He was a descendant of Hugh Cholmondeley, an offshoot of the Cholmondeleys of Cheshire, where the family had been located from the time of the Conquest.
The picturesque ruins of the abbey occupy a commanding position on the summit of a high cliff overlooking the town and harbour which lie at the foot. No traces of the original Saxon church have been discovered, nor even a vestige of the Norman edifice erected by the Percys. The remains now standing are those of the church which has been a magnificent cruciform edifice, apparently erected at three different periods. The oldest part is the choir, which is in the Early English style, with lancet windows finished with nail-head and zig-zag mouldings, and was probably erected between 1190 and 1270. The western portion of the nave, the most modern and ornate part of the building, is in the Decorated or florid Gothic style, which prevailed in the 14th century. Here was the principal entrance, still very perfect, but the upper part has fallen, The east or chancel end remains of its original height. It is lighted by six tall and graceful lancet windows in two tiers, with smaller ones in the gable. The south aisle of the choir is gone, but the north aisle remains nearly perfect. It is divided from the choir by an arcade of seven pointed arches resting on clustered columns. Above are the triforium and clerestory windows. The roof of this aisle is beautiful groined work and nearly complete. Each of the bosses bears some finely carved animal or foliage. The north transept remains nearly perfect, and is one of the most beautiful specimens of lancet Gothic in the kingdom. The front is lighted by three tiers of lancet windows, with a small circular one above. On one of the pillars of this transept is part of an inscription, now illegible, which Gent, the antiquarian, thus rendered:- "Johannes de Brunton quondam famulus Domino de la Phe, has columnas erexit in metum et honorem beatæ Mann" (John de Brompton, formerly servant to Lord de la Phe, erected these columns in veneration and honour of the Blessed Mary). The south transept, as well as the south side of the nave, have long since fallen, and on the 25th of June, 1830, the great central tower, which rose from the junction of the nave and transepts to the height of 104 feet, fell with a tremendous crash, having previously exhibited signs of rapid decay. It was supported on four massive clustered columns, two of which still remain.
The monks wore the black habit, and professed the rule of St. Benedict. Their time was divided between prayer, work, study, recreation, and sleep. To the last they devoted six hours; they arose immediately after midnight to sing matins in the church, and at other hours of the day they repaired to the church to sing the portions of the divine office appropriated to the different canonical hours, and to commemorate some mystery in the life of our Blessed Lord. "At Matins (after 1 a.m.) and Lands (in the first twilight) they called to mind His Birth, His Apprehension by Judas and his band, and His Resurrection; at Prime (about 6 a.m.), the insults and reproaches He endured before Caiphas and Pilate; at Tierce, the third hour (9 a.m.), his mocking, scourgings, and condemnation to death on the cross; at Sexts, sixth hour (noon), His Crucifixion; at Nones, ninth hour (3 p.m.), His expiring on the cross; at Vespers (6 p.m.), the piercing of His side; at Complin (9 p.m.), His body taken down from the cross, His burial, and the agony in the garden." "Thus did these holy men and women," says the "Guide to Whitby," from which we quote, "seek, day by day, to keep Christ, suffering and crucified, before the eyes of their minds, and to impress the remembrance of His passion on their hearts." Seven hours were allotted to manual labour, two to study, and the remainder to prayer and the necessary refection of the body. Their diet was simple, the flesh of quadrupeds was strictly forbidden, except in the case of the infirm and aged.
The burial place of the monks was on the north side of the church, and in the centre stood a sepulchral cross. John Nightingale, rector of Sneaton, by his will in 1474, directed his body to be buried here, "on the north side, before the cross. After the Dissolution this cross was removed to the Abbey plain, where it now stands, and mounted on five circular steps. The shaft is octagonal, much defaced, and rises to a height of about 20 feet.
Hospital. - A hospital, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, stood near Spittal Bridge, at the south end of Church Street. It was founded, in 1109, for one leprous person, by abbot William de Percy. Its endowment was afterwards augmented, and the premises enlarged for the reception of several poor persons. Not a vestige of it now remains above ground.
Whitby Hall, or Abbey House, occupies the site of the Abbot's House. It was erected by Sir Francis Cholmley about the year 1580, partly out of the ruins of the monastic buildings. It was enlarged by Sir Hugh Cholmley in 1635, and in the war between Charles I. and the Parliament it was fortified and garrisoned for the king. Sir Hugh was a staunch loyalist, and bravely defended Scarborough Castle for upwards of 12 months. His house was afterwards seized, and occupied for the Parliamentarians. Many additions were made to the mansion by the second Sir Hugh Cholmley, about the year 1672; and it continued the principal residence of the family until the middle of Last century, when they removed to Howsham, an estate inherited from Sir Butler Wentworth, and Whitby Hall was gradually forsaken. About ninety years ago the north side, which was the principal front of the house, was so much damaged by the wind that it was found necessary to dismantle it, the walls only being left standing. Sir C. W. Strickland, the present owner, has renovated and enlarged the old hall, and resides here during a portion of the year.
Sir Charles William Strickland, Bart., the present representative of the Cholmley family, and lord of the manor of Whitby, is the grandson of Sir William Strickland, Bart., by his wife, Henrietta, third daughter and coheiress of Nathaniel Cholmley, Esq., of Whitby and Howsham. His father, Sir George Strickland, Bart., succeeded to the Whitby and Howsham property on the death of his relative, the late Robert Cholmley, Esq., fifth son of Abraham Grimes, Esq., and Mary, second daughter and coheiress of the above Nathaniel Cholmley. He was M.P. for the West Riding of Yorkshire, and for Preston. In 1865 he took, by royal license, the surname of Cholmley only, and the arms of Cholmley and Wentworth, which surname and arms may be taken, borne, and used by his male issue as and when they are respectively entitled to, and succeed to the possession of the Cholmley estates. Sir George died in 1874.
Some of the lands of the manor are held by a very curious service called "Planting the Penny Hedge," the origin of which is thus explained by an old legend:- In the fifth year of Henry II., William de Bruce, lord of Ugglebarnby, Ralph de Piercie, lord of Snaynton, and a gentleman freeholder, named Allotson, from Fylingdales, met to hunt the wild boar in a certain wood or desert, called Eskdaleside, which belonged to Sedman, abbot of Whitby. They started "a great wild boar, and the hounds did run him very hard, near the chapel and hermitage of Eskdaleside, where there was a monk of Whitby, who was a hermit." The boar, being wounded and sorely pressed, rushed into the chapel, where he laid him down and died, whereupon the hermit closed the door and kept the hounds at bay. The gentlemen, following the cry of the hounds, came to the hermitage, and finding the dogs balked of their game, they, in their fury, belaboured the hermit with their boar-staves, whereof he afterwards died. In the meanwhile the gentlemen took sanctuary at Scarborough, but the abbot, being in great favour with the king, removed them out of the sanctuary, and brought them before the dying hermit. The holy man besought the abbot to pardon them, saying he would freely forgive them for causing his death, but they and theirs must, in all future time, perform the following pennance:- "You and yours," said he, "shall hold your lands of the abbot of Whitby, and his successors, in this manner: that upon Ascension eve you, or some of you, shall come to the wood of Strayheads, in Eskdaleside, at sun-rising, and there shall the officer of the abbot blow his horn, and then deliver unto you, William de Bruce, ten stakes, ten strut stowers, and ten yedders to be cut by you, or those that come for you, with a knife of a penny price; and you, Ralph de Piercie, one-and-twenty of each sort, to be cut in the same manner; and you, Allotson, shall take nine of each sort to be cut, as aforesaid - to be taken on your backs, and carried to the town of Whitby, and at the hour of nine of the clock, as long as it is low water at that hour, each of you shall set your stakes at the brim of the water, each stake a yard from another, and so yedder them that they stand three tides Without removing by the force of the water; this shall you do every year, except it be full sea at that hour; and you shall do this service in remembrance that you did most cruelly slay me. And that you may the better call to God for mercy, repent yourselves and do good works. The officer of Eskdaleside shall blow on his horn, Out on you! Out on you! Out on you! for this heinous crime of yours. And if you, or your successors, refuse this service, so long as it shall not be full sea at the hour aforesaid, you, or yours, shall forfeit all your lands to the abbot, or his successors." The abbot agreed to spare the lives of the three hunters on these conditions; and the hermit, feeling the pangs of death, said, "In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum, a vinculis enim mortis redemisti me, Domine veritatis" (Into Thy hands O Lord I commend my spirit, for Thou hast redeemed me from the bonds of death, 0 Lord of truth), and yielded up the ghost.
Sir Walter Scott has woven this legend into his "Marmion" thus:-
"Then Whitby's nuns exulting told,
How to their house three barons bold
Must menial service do;
While horns blow out a note of shame,
And monks cry, "Fye upon your name
In wrath for loss of sylvan game,
St. Hilda's priest ye slew. -
This, on Ascension day, each year,
While labouring on our harbour-pier
Must Herbert, Bruce, and Percy hear."'
This romantic story has been proved both by Dr. Young and Mr. Charlton, historians of Whitby, to be a fiction, the invention of later times to account for a custom, the origin of which was buried with the forgotten past.
All the lands, with the exception of those formerly held by the Allotsons, now possessed by the Herbert family, were long since redeemed from this service; and about half a century ago, when the lord of the manor offered to dispense with the ceremony, the owner of these lands preferred to hold them by the ancient tenure.
Places of Worship. - The parish church, dedicated to St. Mary, stands on the East Cliff, under the shadow of the old abbey, to which it is supposed to have been the original conventual church. The cliff falls steeply away, and in the side have been constructed 199 steps, by which the sacred edifice is approached from the town below. History records that it was built by William de Percy, abbot of Whitby, about the year 1100; and it has been conjectured that some time later, when a more suitable and magnificent edifice was erected for the use of the monks, this church was transferred to the inhabitants of the town, who had previously assembled with the monks. It is not recorded in Domesday Book, nor is it mentioned in the earliest charter of Alan de Percy; but in a second charter, granted by him about the year 1180, the church of St. Mary is named, along with six chapels, Fyling, Hawkesgarth, Sneaton, Ugilbarnby, Dunslie, and Aislabie. The style of architecture which prevailed at the time of its erection was Norman, and a few traces of the original Norman work still remain. These may be seen in the round-headed windows still traceable in the walls, and the massive semi-circular arch which separates the chancel from the nave. The original round-headed doorway was retained till 1823, when it was walled up to make the principal entrance where it now is. It was supported by columns or shafts, two on each side, with capitals of coiled tracery. The door on the south side of the chancel is probably identical with the original one of the Norman builders. In those early times the church appears to have consisted of chancel and nave only. As time went on, transepts were added at the junction of the nave and chancel, transforming the original rectangular building into a cruciform one, but without any internal division into aisles. The front of the north transept facing the sea is apparently coeval with the western tower, both being assignable to the early part of the 13th century. The style of the front of the south transept, with its one large pointed window, originally divided by mullions branching into tracery at the top, clearly indicates the latter part of the 14th century as the period of its erection. The sides of these transepts have been barbarously modernized; but this is only in keeping with the mutilation of the interior that was perpetrated after the Reformation had extinguished monasticism and the architectural taste which it had fostered. In 1819 the north transept was widened to increase the accommodation, thus dislocating as it were the symmetry of the cruciform plan. The interior is deformed by galleries, piled one above another, giving it the appearance of a "three-decker turned outside in, if such a structural exploit could be imagined." There are three galleries at the west end, one above the other, and a fourth over the chancel arch, "a sad piece of incongruity and perversion" which would tinge with indignation the cheek of the old monkish builders, could they but see how the beauty and harmony of their design had been marred and mutilated.
Mr. Charlton, the historian of Whitby, tells us that the church "nearly preserved its ancient form till about the year 1744, when the north wall being in danger of falling, it was rebuilt with the windows in more modern taste." "Of late," he continues, "it has undergone so many alterations by the erection of new galleries, putting in sashed windows, ceiling overhead with deals, painting, removing old stones that were carved, &c., that it has lost much of its antique appearance, especially in the inside, where hardly any vestige remains to show what it has formerly been." The first and most offensive of the galleries was erected by the Cholmley family, over the chancel arch, "obscuring the greatest structural ornament pertaining to the original Norman fabric." Other galleries were subsequently added. In 1697 one was built along the south wall of the nave, another across the west end in 1700, and another above that almost up to the ceiling, by Mark Noble, in 1709; a fifth was erected in the south transept in 1757, and a sixth in the north transept in 1764. Some of these galleries were removed in 1819, and the interior assumed then much of the appearance it now presents.
Another innovatiion of post-Reformation introduction is the old omnibus pews, which displaced the ecclesiastical benches. The roof of high pitch and open timber work was superseded by the present low one with flatted ceiling, and the tower appears to have been lowered by one stage.
The old walls are three feet thick, and above those of the chancel are the original battlements, resting upon an arcaded cornice and projecting over the sides. A few years ago, a piscina was discovered in the wall of the south transept, where there must once have been an altar, which some suppose was dedicated to St. Ninian. The pulpit is of the three-decker type, and stands in the middle of the church, within sight and hearing of the 2,200 worshippers whom the edifice will accommodate. There are several monumental tablets in the chancel to the Cholmley family, but none that call for special desciption. Near the vestry is a memorial to General Peregrine Lascelles, a native of Whitby, who served in Spain during the reign of Queen Anne, and in the Jacobite risings of 1715 and 1745, and died in 1772. The register dates from the year 1608. The churchyard, which covers about two acres, is crowded with tombstones, and was closed by an order in council in 1858.
The living belonged to the Abbey of Whitby, and was served by one of the monks till the Dissolution. It was then granted to the See of York, and became a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the archbishop. In 1866 it was declared a rectory. Its gross yearly value is £740. The present rector is the Rev. Canon George Austen, M.A., St. John's College, Cambridge, who is assisted by four curates.
Ancient Chapels. - In pre-Reformation times there were several chantries or chapels, which were suppressed in the reign of Edward VI. The ancient hospital of St. John, near Spital bridge, some remains of which still exist in three small cellars constructed of hewn stone, would doubtless have a chapel attached to it. Another stood on the south side of the present Market Place, and is now converted into tenements and shops. Dr. Young says "It is not impossible that this might be St. Ninian's Chapel, in which case we may suppose the ancient chapel on the west side of the Esk to have been named St. Ann's, there being a St. Ann's Staith and St. Ann's Lane near to it; though the name of St. Ann's may be St. Ninian's abridged." It is also supposed an ancient chapel stood near the east end of Baxter Gate. Whether it was suppressed for a season after the Dissolution does not appear; but a small building, near its site, was used as a place of worship till the year 1778. Prayers were read in it on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday mornings, with a sermon on the latter day. The curate was paid by a rate called "chapel cess," which was levied by the burgesses.
CHAPELS-OF-EASE St Ninian's, in Baxtergate, is a brick building, erected by subscription in 1778, on the site of an ancient chapel, which had belonged to the abbey. The contributors were 30 in number, in whom the patronage was vested, and whose representatives still retain pews in the church. The interior underwent a thorough restoration in 1881-2, when the old fashioned box pews were replaced by open benches, and the chancel chastely decorated. There are 600 sittings, all of which are free.
St. Michael's, situated in Church Street, was erected in 1847, at a cost of about £3,500. It is in the Early English style, and was built from the designs of Mr. Atkinson, of York. It comprises nave and chancel, and has 750 sittings, all of which are free.
St. John the Evangelist's, in Baxtergate is a cruciform structure, in the Early English style, erected in 1848, from the designs of Mr. Atkinson, of York, The funds were raised by subscription. There are galleries in the nave, which increase the accommodation to 1,200 sittings, of which 800 are free. The font was the gift of the Ven. Archdeacon Churton.
St. Hilda's Church, West Cliff, now rapidly approaching completion, is a chapel-of-ease to St. Mary's, the mother church, and is under the charge of Canon Austen. It has been used for service for some months during the process of building. It consists of nave and chancel, west and south aisles, two transepts, two vestries, one at south-east, and one at north-east corners; two porches, one at south-west, and the other at north-west; and it is intended to have a tower with clock over the choir in the centre, to rise to 110 feet, the clock dial to be eight feet in diameter, and the tower to contain a peal of eight bells. The north transept is to form the organ chamber, and the south transept the morning chapel. The whole building is of Aislaby stone, the architect being Mr. R. Johnston, of Newcastle, and the sole contractors for the building, Messrs. Padbury and Sons, Scarborough. The estimated cost of the church is £22,000. This sum includes tower £2,200, and organ £2,000. The length of the church is 135 feet, breadth of the nave 25½ feet, aisles 16 feet each, and chancel 24½ feet. The transepts are each 22 feet by 19 feet 3 inches. The fittings are of oak. The reredos and two screens in the chancel are of carved oak. The communion table is of carved oak and American cedar, inlaid with granite cross in the centre. The floor is also of oak set in pitchpine, with nine inch concrete for foundation. There is a six feet dado in oak, with enriched battlements. The centre aisle is eight feet wide, and two side aisles six feet each, to admit of chairs being placed therein when the church is filled during the summer months. The contrast between summer and winter appearances is thus diminished by the removal of the chairs, and the church does not appear so empty in winter as it otherwise would. The roof of the nave is of the kind known as "waggon," and it is divided into panels with moulded ribs, with carved bosses at the intersection of the mouldings. The cornice is dignified, and carved with a well-tried old pattern of foliage and shields, and above it is a rich cresting or bratticing. Moulded hammer beams and wall shafts are terminated at the level of the clerestory sills, with stone corbels moulded and embattled. The roof is carefully selected pitchpine. The style of architecture is old Gothic-decorated. The aisles are separated from the nave by five bays on each side. The clerestory above the bays contains ten traceried windows of two lights each. The east and west windows are 14th century Gothic. There are four at each side and one at each end of aisles. At the west-end of the aisles are two memorial stained windows to Christopher Richardson, Esq., of St. Hilda's Terrace, and his wife. They are inscribed: "To the glory of God, and in loving memory of Christopher Richardson, of St. Hilda's Terrace, Esq., who died September 22nd, 1875, aged 68. This window is dedicated by his relatives." The window to his wife is inscribed: "To the glory of God, and in loving memory of the wife of Christopher Richardson, and daughter of Aaron Chapman, first M.P. for Whitby, who died March 19th, 1883, aged 79. This window is dedicated by her relatives." There is sitting accommodation for 700, and in summer sittings can be provided for 1,000, by placing chairs in the space left in the three aisles. The church was built by voluntary subscriptions, and £400 grant from the York Diocesan Church Building Society. Sir G. Elliot, in addition to a handsome subscription, also gave the site. The family of the Rev. John Turner, formerly curate here, who reside in the neighbourhood of Bradford, have given £4,200 to complete the chancel, transepts, and vestries, and the adornment of the chancel. The floor of the chancel is in Bradford polished flags. The church is heated by low pressure hot water apparatus, and lighted by gas in 250 lights. Doors are in basil leather, with Adams' patent springs. The roof of nave and chancel is of strawberry coloured Brosley tiles, and that of the aisles, transepts, and vestries, of lead. The vestries are approached by descending seven steps, and a corridor along the east end under the chancel leads from one to the other. Each transept is lighted by one window of four lights, and two of two lights. The pulpit. sedilia, and piscina are of Caen stone, as also the niche in the morning chapel. The font, situated below the west window, is of marble.
The iron chapel, close to the above church, and formerly the chapel-of-ease, is now used as a lecture room, &c.
St. Hilda's Catholic Church, Bagdale. The old structure, erected in 1805 by the Rev. N. Gilbert, a French refugee, has given place to the present handsome stone building opened in 1867. It is in the Gothic style of the 13th century, and consists of nave, east and west aisles, sanctuary with high altar, lady altar at the north-east corner, and a spacious vestry at the north-west corner of the church. The stone used was from the Aislaby quarries, and the cost of the building was over £3,000; it will seat between 600 and 700 persons. The length of the building from north to south is 103 feet, and the breadth from east to west 50 feet. The altar, which is very elaborate, is at the north end of the church. The nave roof, which is vaulted, is of timber, 60 feet from the floor. The organ occupies a chamber at the south end of the church. There are several stone pillars with open arches on each side of the aisles. Over the high altar is a fine three-light lancet window filled with stained glass, representing scenes in the life of St. Hilda, and was the gift of the late Mr. Thomas Shimmings, a member of the congregation. The window in the east side is in memory of the children of Messrs. Turnbull and Lawson. Three other lancet windows of stained glass are the gift of Mrs. Wilson and Mrs. Noble. The late Matthew Snowdon, Esq., gave the window in the lady chapel. Subject: Our Lady of Perpetual Succour. The carved oak reredos over the high altar, which cost £600, is richly gilt, and contains on the gospel side statues of St. John of Beverley, St. Hilda, and St. Hedda; on the epistle side are the figures of St. Wilfrid of York, St. Bega, and St. Beda or Bede. Surmounting these figures are ten angels, five on each side of the tabernacle, whilst the one on each side of the tabernacle stands out in advance of the others.
The principal entrance to the church is by a flight of fifteen stone steps from the south. There is also an entrance from the east side by a porch. At the south-east corner is the spire, 175 feet high.
The old chapel has been converted into a Presbytery and a library. The Presbytery adjoins the church at the north-west corner. The Rev. Canon Randerson is the priest in charge. Rev. M. Aherne, curate.
Wesleyan Chapel. - The Wesleyan Methodists first began to worship here in 1750. In 1788 they built the chapel in Church Street, and John Wesley, the founder of the sect, preached in it at the opening. It is a large, plain, brick building, pleasantly situated on an eminence, providing accommodation for 600 persons. Formerly the approach to the chapel was through a court or alley, on either side of which were houses. A few years ago R. E. Paunet, Esq., purchased the property, which he had taken down, thus providing a spacious entrance to the chapel by an attractive flight of steps. The original cost of the building was £1,200, and a similar sum has since been spent in various ways upon it.
In 1814 the Wesleyan body erected another place of worship in Brunswick Street (formerly called Scate Lane), to accommodate 1,100 people. An organ was placed in it in 1833. In November, 1889, a meeting was held to consider the question of the proposed re-building of the chapel. Complaints having been made of the unsightliness of the exterior of the chapel, the uncomfortable pews, and the defective ventilation, the trustees propose to pull down the present buildings, and erect the new chapel and Sunday school upon the site, In the new scheme the positions will be reversed, the chapel being designed next Brunswick Street. The chapel will be built on the transeptal plan, and shallow galleries are provided on three sides. The seats are arranged to accommodate about 900 worshippers, over 500 being on the ground floor. The orchestra occupies a position to the rear of the building. There are to be three vestries, and a spacious ladies' parlour and band room. The front entrance is in the form of a narthex, specially designed to meet the requirements of a watering place. A tower has been designed at the angle of the building, to rise from the street line, and an open arcaded porch forms a special feature along the front of the chapel.
The school is designed to accommodate about 450 scholars. In addition to the main room, there are five classrooms and a room for 90 infants. For meeting purposes the school will seat 650, including a gallery over the end classrooms. The chapel and schools are conveniently connected, and entrances are arranged from two levels in Brunswick Street, as well as from Baxtergate. The style of the buildings is Romanesque. Great care has been taken in the matters of accoustics and ventilation. The heating will be on the low-pressure, hot-water system. The buildings will be erected in brick, the whole of the walls exposed to view, being faced with stone in courses. The chiselled ashlar will come from Aislaby. The roof will be tiled. The internal woodwork will be in pitchpine, and the windows will be relieved with lead in colours. The estimated cost is £5,500. Architects, Messrs. Waddington & Son, Manchester and Burnley.
The Wesleyan mission chapel, off Flowergate, is a plain stone building, and bears the following inscription: "This chapel erected by George Miller, Anno Domini, 1837."
The Primitive Methodist Chapel, in Church Street, was built in 1821, at a cost of £1,000. It was rebuilt and enlarged in 1841. It is a plain, barn-like building, with sitting accommodation for 650. In it is a neat marble tablet to Sarah Margaret, wife of John Buchannan, Esq., who died in 1837. Sunday school established 1835. Fishburn Park Primitive Methodist Chapel is a white brick building, erected to accommodate 330, in 1866, at a cost of £1,100. Sunday school was opened in 1866.
The Unitarian Chapel, commonly called the old Presbyterian Chapel, is situated at the foot of Flowergate, and was erected in 1715 and rebuilt in 1812. It will accommodate 100 persons. The ministers originally belonged to the Church of Scotland, but during the lengthened pastorate (56 years) of the Rev. Thomas Watson, who died in 1825, the theology preached in the chapel developed into Unitarianism, and the ministers who have since held the pulpit have been Unitarians. The present pastor of the congregation is the Rev. Francis Hadyn Williams. Mr. Leonard Wilde, a sailmaker in Whitby, who died in 1732, endowed this chapel with a farm at Stepney, in Upgang Lane, which is now let for £90 per annum. It was let for the same amount in 1817, whilst in 1859 it only let for £60.
The United Presbyterian Chapel, in connection with the Secession Church of Scotland, was built in 1790, and will accommodate 450. In 1857 it was new-fronted in the Gothic style. The Rev. George Young, D.D., author of the "History of Whitby" and other works, was minister of this congregation from 1806 to 1848, when he died, and was buried in St. Mary's churchyard, Whitby. A neat tablet is erected in the chapel to his memory. The Rev. George Robertson, M.A., is the present minister.
The Trinity Presbyterian Church of England, situate in Flowergate, was built in 1877-8 by public subscription, at a cost of £5,600, and has accommodation for 500. It is a handsome stone structure, generally in the 15th century Gothic style of architecture. It is adorned with an elegant tower 80 feet in height, which is quite an ornament to that part of the town. It is intended to supplement the tower with a spire. There is a vestry, and a schoolroom with accommodation for 300.
The Congregational Church, West Cliff, situated in Skinner Street, was opened in 1868. It is built of Aislaby stone, in the Gothic style of architecture, at a cost of £5,000. It has accommodation for 950. The spire rises to a height of 120 feet. Minister, Rev. Egbert Fox Thomas. There is a mission chapel on The Cragg, and a mission Sunday School in Church Street. The parent Sunday school, still belonging to the body, is situated in Silver Street, and is used as a lecture hall. The former lecture hall was sold, and is now used as a jet works.
St. Hilda's Catholic Schools, Spring Hill Terrace, are built of brick with stone dressings, and were erected in 1874; number on the books, 146. St. Patrick's School, in which are infants and standards I. and II., is in Church Street, and was opened in 1886. It consists of schoolroom, classroom, and gallery, having accommodation for 120; number on books, 95; average attendance, 70.
This school serves as a chapel-of-ease to St. Hilda's, and mass is celebrated on Sundays.
There is a Convent School at Prospect Place. These three schools are conducted by the Sisters of Mercy.
St. John's National School, Spring Hill Terrace, is a brick building with freestone facings, and was erected in 1874. There are three departments. On the books: boys, 200; girls and infants, 347. Master, Mr. Benjamin Ambler; mistress, Miss E. Shepherd.
Cholmley School is a neat building in Church Street, providing accommodation for 175. It was erected by the late Mrs. Hannah Cholmley as a memorial to her husband, Colonel George Cholmley, of Whitby Abbey and Howsham. The endowment also supports a scripture reader. There are 15 free scholars. Average for last year was 168; number on books, 190; Miss A. E. Stephenson, schoolmistress. A seamen's mission service is held here every Sunday, a mother's meeting on Wednesday, and on Sundays a school. There is a library of 300 volumes for the use of the scholars.
The British Schools is the later name for what was usually known in former times as the Lancastrian or Public Schools. They are the oldest in the town, having been built of stone in 1821. The old building for boys was first built in 1810, and that for girls in 1814. They are situated on the Mount, at the top of Cliff Street. Boys, accommodation for 256; average, 210; on books, 240; head master, Mr. Thomas Taylor, and two assistant masters and three pupil teachers. Girls' department has space for 165, with an average of 150, and on the books 170; head mistress, Miss E. Lee and four assistants. Two classrooms were added in 1889, at a cost of £250.
The National Schools, situated in Church Street, were established in 1844. There is one principal room and classroom on the ground floor for the boys, giving accommodation for 170. The number on the books is 141, with an average of 124. The "excellent" merit grant was gained by this department. Head master, J. A. H. Drewitt.
The girls' rooms are above the boys; accommodation for 170; number on books, 177; average, 115; head mistress, Miss Parratt. The infants have a separate school in another part of the same street, with accommodation for 84, and an average of 70; Miss Pinder, mistress. The Government examinations are held in May, and those for the diocese in December.
Board Schools. - These premises were erected in Church Street in 1879. There are separate play grounds and entrances for boys and girls. The boys' school consists of principal room and two classrooms; accommodation for 110, with that number in average attendance, and 130 on the books; Mr. T. W. Rennison, head master.
The Girls' School and classroom above the infants' room have space for 91, and an average of 91; number on the books, 105; head mistress, Miss M. E. Littler.
The Infants' School, on the ground floor, has accommodation for 103; number on books, 114; average, 100; Miss M. A. Watson, mistress.
The Cemetery. - The graveyard of the parish church was closed in 1862, and the present burial place opened. It is situated about a mile from the town, on the east side of the river, and has an area of 12½ acres, divided into two equal portions, one being set apart for the Church of England, and the other for Non-conformists. There are two mortuary chapels with tower and spire, in the Geometric Decorated style. There are two entrances, one from the Whitby and Scarborough road, the other from the Whitby and Sneaton road.
CIVIL GOVERNMENT. - Whitby has no Corporation, and is consequently under the government of the magistrates of the North Riding. The lord of the manor holds a court leet every two years, about Michaelmas, in the Town Hall. Formerly the government and control over the borough was vested in the manorial courts, and a council or jury of 15 respectable inhabitants were termed. burgesses. The courts formerly appertained to the abbey, and after its dissolution passed to the Cholmley family, with the other manorial rights. Under the Local Government Act of 1858, and adopted by the town in 1872, a Local Board was formed consisting of 15 members, including in its jurisdiction Whitby, Ruswarp, and part of Hawsker-cum-Stainsacre, and having a population of over 14,000.
FRANCHISE. - During some reigns the Abbot of Whitby sat in Parliament as a spiritual lord. The last abbot who enjoyed that honour was Thomas de Malton. The fifth abbot, Richard de Waterville, who died in 1189, gave a charter to the town in 1170 (Henry II.), creating it a free burgh, conferring on the inhabitants the right to hold their own courts, with other valuable privileges. Had that charter been confirmed by the king, Whitby would have become a royal borough, but in 1202 the charter was lost "through the jealousy of the monks and the venality of the court." During the Commonwealth the town was represented in Parliament, as it had been during the old rule of the lordly abbots, but the privilege was lost at the Restoration, and was not restored until the great political revival of 1832; but under the provisions of the Redistribution of Seats Act of 1885, it was disfranchised as a borough, and merged into the Whitby Parliamentary division of the North Riding.
MARKETS AND FAIRS. - Whitby has had its market from time immemorial, and is described as such in a charter granted in 1445. Previously it had been held on the Sunday, but the day was changed by that charter to Saturday. It is held in the Market Hall, and is well supplied with provisions. Fairs are held on the 25th of August and 11th of November.
Shipping and Trade. - As a seaport and fishing station, Whitby claims a respectable rank and no small antiquity. Dibdin, in his tour through England in the last century, visited this town, and after noting that it had a custom house and good harbour, says, "The best and strongest vessels used in England for the coasting trade are built here." He asserts that there were then 400 vessels of considerable burthen belonging to the port, and speaks of the extensive alum mines in the neighbourhood (now an extinct industry), the large coasting trade in time of peace, and in time of war the profitable employment for the ships in the transport service. It is curious that the journey by sea which the abbess Elfieda undertook in 684 to visit St. Cuthbert, is noticed as the first voyage from the port of Whitby on record. In amount of tonnage Whitby was formerly the seventh port in the kingdom, the burden of its ships exceeding 46,000 tons. All the vessels which Captain Cook took with him in his voyage of discovery round the world were built at Whitby, where he commenced his nautical career. The shipping is now chiefly confined to the Baltic and coasting trade. The introduction of iron screw steamers diminished the prosperity of Whitby as a maritime place, but it has been compensated largely by the establishment of iron shipbuilding. A fleet of upwards of 60 screw steamers are managed and largely owned in the town, so that the inhabitants are still beneficially interested in shipping.
The fishing industry of Whitby is almost as old as the place itself. As early, even, as 1336, Whitby ships were directed by Edward III. to rendezvous at Orwell, near Harwich. Fishing boats were numerous in 1396, and no doubt added greatly to the revenue of the abbey, as we find the spiritual dues paid to the monastery at that date amounted to £52 13s. l1d, for half-a-year, exclusive of the tithe-fish used by the monks. Whitby, however, continued to be only a small fishing town for many years subsequent to this period. In 1786 twenty fine ships set sail for the Greenland fishery, but the trade died out in 1888. The Whitby Herring Company, for the purpose of curing herrings and other fish for home sale and exportation, was formed in 1833. The visitor will be interested in an inspection of the two smoking houses on Tate Hill, near the foot of the steps leading to the parish church. On an average 30,000 tons of fish are despatched by rail during July, August, and September, to the principal markets of the country.
The principal and most interesting manufacture in Whitby is the making of jet ornaments. The trade is of great antiquity, and was certainly carried on during the mediæval period, as relics which have been found among the ruins of the abbey testify. Jet is supposed to be a variety of petrified wood, and is found towards the bottom of the upper lias in the cliff. In an old legal document there is mention made of "John Carlill, of Whitby, jet worker, 1598." The ancients gave the name of "gayates"to the jet found on this coast. Anklets and bracelets were made from it by the early British. In 1846 there were discovered in two stone coffins under the principal entrance of the church of St. Geréon, in Cologne, as many as twenty-six manufactured articles of this material. They consisted of two hair-pins with heads composed of pine cases, almonds and trefoils, bracelets, rings, and a half crotalon, with a head of Medusa. They were supposed to have been the ornaments of some priestess of Cybele. In one of the tumuli, dating before the time of the Danes, was found the ear-ring of a lady. Jet crosses and rosaries were probably made in Whitby during the period of the monastic rule; but from the time of Elizabeth the art ceased, till the beginning of the present century. When the jet trade was flourishing, it was estimated that 1,500 men and boys were employed in it, and that the value of the articles manufactured in Whitby exceeded £20,000 a year. At the present time there are, large and small, 181 jet manufacturers in Whitby, and the number of persons employed, 400. Foreign jet, particularly Spanish, is extensively used, but for durability and lasting beauty there is no material to equal the jet taken out of the Whitby cliffs.
Other industries carried on here are the manufacture of sailcloth and patent ropes. In 1875 a shirt factory was opened by Mr. George Remmer, at Spittal Bridge, which now employs between 40 and 50 hands.
Piers and Harbour. - After the Norman Conquest the port of Whitby was granted by the Percy family to the monks of the abbey, and care was taken to have this grant confirmed by Charter. Long before the dissolution of the monastery of Whitby wooden piers or landing places for vessels began to be erected. The first mention of the piers is in 1545, when Henry VIII. ordered their maintenance at the royal cost. At this period they were constructed of loose stones and timber. In Leland's "Itinerary" "A new quay and port were then making of stone fallen down from the rocks thereby." From a document quoted by Dr. Young, we learn that "Henry VIII. employed great sums of money in maintaining the piers at Whitby, for which purpose timber was granted from the king's woods in the parish of Whitby and the vicinity." In 1632 the present stone structures were commenced, mainly through the instrumentality of Sir Hugh Cholmley, who made use of the influence possessed by his relative, Lord Strafford, to promote a public subscription for the work. The violence of the sea soon, however, necessitated repairs, and the piers were again rebuilt and much improved by the Cholmley family, about 1660, who on this occasion adopted the plan of driving piles to break the waves. In 1702 an Act of Parliament provided funds for the purpose of placing and keeping the piers in a proper state, and several Acts were afterwards obtained to continue or increase the revenues then provided. Up to 1861 these revenues consisted of a duty of one halfpenny per Newcastle chaldron on all coals shipped at Newcastle, Sunderland, and parts of the north passing to the south (Whitby being viewed as a harbour of refuge for "colliers"); also duties on coal, salt, corn, &c., landed at Whitby; on butter and fish shipped, and on ships entering the port. The revenues from this Act averaged from £3,500 to £4,000 per annum. The Harbour and Passing Tolls Act of 1861 superseded the Act of 1702, and in lien thereof, rates are imposed on vessels entering and leaving the harbour, according to tonnage; and also on goods shipped and unshipped in the harbour.
The West Pier, which has been repeatedly rebuilt, repaired, and enlarged, was completed in 1814. It extends from the bridge to the lighthouse, a distance of 812 yards, and affords a delightful promenade for the inhabitants and visitors. It is faced with dressed stones, of immense size, some weighing about six tons each, which are strongly rivetted together, and many of them mortised into each other. The pier itself, independent of the quay, is 338 yards long. The lighthouse at the pier-head consists of a fluted Grecian-Doric column, 75 feet high; it has an octagonal light-room, or lantern, which terminates in a dome, or cupola, and is surrounded with an iron gallery, from which a magnificent view of the sea coast and surrounding country may be obtained. It was built in 1831. On the head of the East Pier a second lighthouse was erected, in 1854. It, too, forms Doric column, about 40 feet high. The lights from the West Pier are visible at a distance of 13 miles, and those from the East 10 miles. They are shown during the nights at high-water, and for two hours before and after, In the day a flag is displayed on a staff, on the West Cliff, to indicate when vessels may safely enter the harbour.
The East Pier, which forms a powerful barrier to defend the town and port from the fury of the ocean, is, like the West Pier, faced with dressed stones, of great size. Besides the outer piers, others have been formed within the harbour, at sufficient distances to direct the current and break the force of the waves. The Burgess Pier, on the east side, and the Scotch Head opposite, on the west, have in recent times been greatly improved. The Fish Pier and the jetty opposite were erected about 1815. The entrance to the harbour between the heads of the two outer piers is about 53 yards wide at high-water line; between the Burgess Pier and the Scotch Head the width is 72 yards; but the third entrance, between the Fish Pier and the jetty, does not exceed 68 yards. There are four lifeboats stationed at Whitby, under the care of the harbour master; and the coastguardsmen have the care of the rocket apparatus and other life-saving mat ériel.
The Bridge. - The town of Whitby stands on two opposite and boldly rising acclivities, at the mouth of the Esk, which divides it into two nearly equal portions, connected by a handsome stone bridge. "Whitby Bridge," writes Young, "has occupied its present site from time immemorial; it probably existed, in some form, during the Roman era, and its existence in the palmy days of the monastery is placed beyond a doubt. From documents belonging to the Cholmley family it appears that, not only at the dissolution of the abbey, but anciently, time out of mind, there has been a drawbridge here, and the bridgemasters, who collected the dues for vessels going above the bridge, and the rents of several tenements erected on the frameworks of the bridge: for our bridge," he continues, "like the ancient London Bridge, was then encumbered with tenements built on it, some of which extended across its whole breadth, leaving an arched passage below." In 1628 considerable repairs were done to the bridge, and in 1766 it was entirely rebuilt, at a cost to the county of £3,000, when the cumbrous buildings upon it ceased to disfigure it. This bridge, being found defective, was at length removed, and the present bridge opened in 1835, at a cost of £10,000. It consists of four arches, the largest of which, in the centre, is of cast iron, opening by hydraulic pressure for the admission of vessels. It is 122 feet long and 22 feet broad.
The Whitby Waterworks Company was incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1862. The cost of the scheme was about £25,000. The first chairman was H. S. Thompson, Esq., M.P. The water supply is obtained from a spring at Hazel Head, 12 miles distant from Whitby. The water runs into a tank, and from thence by iron pipes to the town. At Randay Mere, three miles from Hazel Head, is a storage reservoir for 10 million gallons of water. This water is conveyed to the town through the parish of Grosmont, along Eskdaleside, through Sleights and on to Sneaton Castle reservoir, about one mile from the town, where the pressure is secured.
The following analysis of the water is given by Professor Attfield, Ph.D., F.R.S., F.T.C., F.C.S.
One Gallon contains:- Grains.
Alkali-metal chlorides 2.87
Ammoniacal salts a trace
Carbonate of lime 7.22
Sulphate of lime .65
Carbonate of magnesia .70
Organic impurity none
These compounds give to the water nine degrees of hardness, which ebullition reduces to two degrees. The water is clear and bright, is remarkably pure, has comparatively little hardness, and altogether is of excellent quality for drinking purposes, general household use, and all manufacturing purposes.
February 21st, 1881. (Signed) JOHN ATTFIELD.
The Custom House is situated in Sandgate, overlooking the harbour. In 1839 the port obtained the privilege of having a bonding warehouse. It has now three, one for the general public in Church Street, one occupied by John Weighill and Sons, and one belonging to Messrs. Corner and Readman. These warehouses are under the charge of the Inland Revenue. The receipts of the Custom House now average £7,000 a year.
The Museum, situated on the West Pier, above the baths, was commenced in 1823. It is enriched with a large collection of specimens of fossils, minerals, and other curiosities. Its richest gem is a fossil crocodile, discovered in the cliffs near Saltwick. There are also some interesting antiquities from the neighbourhood, especially a Roman millstone of lava, and a Roman inscription from Peak. A collection of 1,000 minerals is arranged over the fireplace, and the staircase is adorned with various articles from all parts of the world. The museum contains above 15,000 specimens of fossils, shells, crustacia, insects, corallines, &c., with a beautiful collection of marine plants. Admission 6d.
The Saloon on the West Cliff estate is a handsome structure in the Queen Anne style of architecture. It is built of brick, with stone dressings. The concert room, which is 92 feet long and 42 feet wide, will seat 850 persons. The reading room is 30 feet by 25 feet. There are also luncheon, dining rooms, &c. There are walks and terraces around the saloon, and in front an asphalted promenade. It is an iron balcony, from which visitors can inhale the ozone of the ocean and enjoy the sea breezes, at the same time being sheltered from the rain. The terraces are approached from the Royal Hotel by a carriage drive.
The Police Station. - The present buildings, of red brick with freestone dressings, situated at Spring Hill, were opened in February, 1877. On the ground floor is the superintendent's office and charge-room, over which is a large courtroom. Behind the charge-room are six cells and an airing-yard for prisoners. On the north front is the superintendent's house, and on the south front the inspector's; and over these are rooms for the unmarried constables.
Poor Law Union of Whitby has an area of 83,786 acres, of the rateable value of £117,440, and a population of 26,474. It comprises the following townships Aislaby, Barnby, Borrowby, Egton, Ellerby, Eskdaleside-cum-Ugglebarnby, Fylingdales, Glaisdale, Goathland, Hawsker-cum-Stainsacre, Hinderwell, Hutton Mulgrave, Lythe, Mickleby, Newholm-cum-Dunsley, Newton Mulgrave, Roxby, Ruswarp, Sneaton, Ugthorpe, and Whitby.
The Workhouse was built originally in 1792, at a cost of £1,684 15s. 0d., raised by subscription. On the formation of the Union in 1837 it was purchased by the guardians from the overseers of Whitby, and enlarged in 1860 to double its former size, with considerable alterations and improvements, and the addition of a school, attended in November last by 15 girls and 21 boys. Average number of inmates, 125. In the vagrant ward there is accommodation for 16 men and 8 women.
CHARITIES. - Adam Boulby, in 1747 and 1772, left two cottages in Cliff Lane, and six cottages in Flowergate, for the residence of poor sailors of Whitby, or their widows. In 1789 Benjamin Hunter gave £100, the interest to be yearly employed in clothing four poor fatherless sons of seamen, when put apprentice. The dividends of £100 stock, purchased with the bequest of William Rymer, in 1808, are distributed yearly in coals among poor old seamen or seamen's widows. Richmond Porritt left £900, the interest to be annually distributed, in sums of £5 each, to poor and superannuated masters of ships, or masters' widows. In 1722 and 1770, William and John Pearson left four houses in Whitby, and Margery Boyes left one house in 1723, to be occupied rent-free by poor families. The latter also bequeathed £5 per annum for apprenticing four poor boys, an annuity of £8 4s. for schooling eight children, and 1s. per week for twelve poor widows. John Robinson, in 1854, left the interest of £660 14s. 0d., to be distributed in coals twice a year, by the minister and churchwardens of the parish of Whitby, to the poor of both sexes. Barker's Charity consists of the interest of £332 11s. 0d., to be divided half-yearly equally amongst four females, who have never been married. Atty's Charity is the interest of £504 in equal quarterly payments amongst six poor widows, having severally attained the age of 50 years, and being natives and inhabitants of Whitby. John Robertson left the interest of a sum of money to be paid to poor persons of respectable character at the rate of 2s. 6d. each on Christmas Eve in each year, with a preference to ropemakers or their widows. The income of this for 1889 was £31 15s. 4d. The first payment was made in 1888. Miss Alice Gallilee, in 1847, 1852, and 1856, set aside £280, £303, and £220 respectively, for the relief of the poor of Whitby and neighbourhood. Mrs. Hannah Cholmley, who died in 1883, left the rent of a farm between a scripture reader, Bible woman, and the Cholmley schools. The rent amounts to a trifle over £100 a year.
EMINENT MEN. - Though not exactly a modern Athens, Whitby is not undistinguished in the arts and in literature and science. Three historians have risen up in her midst to narrate her rise and progress. She has reared several poets, dramatic writers, and literateurs for the republic of letters. Mrs. Gaskell laid here the plot of her "Sylvia's Lovers." Whitby figures in the story as Monkshaven, and the incidents of the whale fishing, the press gang, and other stirring last century incidents are graphically depicted.
Cedmon or Ceadman, the first Saxon poet, is supposed to have been a native of Whitby. He was first an attendant, and afterwards a monk at Streoneshalh Abbey. According to Bede, he was a plain unlettered peasant till he was advanced in years, when he was suddenly and miraculously invested with the gift of poetry. He died in 680. (See page 1130).
General Lascelles, who was a native of Whitby, died in 1772, and his epitaph in the parish church says he was " General of all and singular his majesty's forces, who served his country from the year 1706. In the reign of Queen Anne he served in Spain, and in the battles of Almanara, Saragossa, and Villa-Viciosæ, and performed the duty of a brave and gallant officer, In the rebellion of 1715 he served in Scotland; and in that of 1745, after a fruitless exertion of his spirit and ability at the disgraceful rout at Preston Pans, he remained forsaken on the field. In all his dealings he was just and disinterested, bountiful to his soldiers, a father to his officers, a man of truth and principle, in short an honest man."
Francis Gibson, a native of and collector of customs at this port, wrote and published a play called "Streoneshalh Abbey, or the Danish Invasion." He also prepared materials for a history of Whitby, but died before its completion.
Mr. W. Watkins was a poet and writer of considerable merit. His principal poetical works came out between 1778 and 1784. In 1832 he published "The Fall of Carthage," a tragedy which was acted in London.
The Rev. G. Young, D.D., was minister of Cliff Lane Chapel for 42 years, and died in 1848. He is author of a history of Whitby, a picture of Whitby and its environs, a geological survey of the Yorkshire coast, the life and voyage of Captain Cook, &c.
The Rev. W. Scoresby, D.D., F.R.S., was a native of Cropton, near Pickering, and intimately connected with Whitby. After leaving the University of Edinburgh, he adopted the profession of his father, and for some years commanded vessels engaged in the whale fishery. He wrote an account in 1820 of the Arctic Regions, with the history and description of the northern whale fishery. He was the author of works on the temperature of the sea, and the nature of the polar currents, the temperature of the atmosphere, &c. In 1824 he relinquished his seafaring life, and entered the ministry. In 1856 he undertook a voyage in the "Royal Charter," for the purpose of discovering a remedy for the changes which take place in the compasses of iron-built vessels when navigating southern latitudes. On his death he left his magnetic and scientific apparatus, and a variety of manuscripts to the museum at Whitby. He also bequeathed £300 to the same building.
F. K. Robinson, who died in 1882, was the author of a glossary of Yorkshire words and phrases; St. Mary's Church; Whitby, its abbey and neighbourhood, &c.
Captain Cook, the famous navigator, served his apprenticeship here with Mr. John Walker. In the museum is a model of the "Resolution," the ship in which Cook sailed in his second voyage to southern seas.
AISLABY is a township and chapelry in the parish of Whitby. It lies on the northern slopes of Eskdale, and is locally situated in the liberty of Langbaurgh. The area, exclusive of roads and water, is 1,068 acres, of which 961 are under assessment. The Ven. Archdeacon Yeoman, of Marske Hall; Thomas Peirson, Esq., and Messrs. Simpson & Walker, bankers, Whitby, are the principal landowners. The manorial privileges are possessed by Mrs. Hatt, of Scarborough, and Mrs. Burnett, of Whitby, daughter and daughter-in-law of the late R. Noble, Esq. The township is valued for rating purposes at £1,691, and had in 1881 a population of 337. It abounds with stone of very excellent quality. Aislaby stone is reputed the best in England for marine purposes, and is very extensively used in the construction of piers, bridges, &c.
The village is situated three miles W.S.W. of Whitby. Though somewhat scattered, the houses are well built, and amongst them are many fine residences. The scenery around is picturesque, the air invigorating, and the village is now much frequented by visitors in the summer season, for whose accommodation there are some well appointed boarding houses. Near the village is a spring of very good water, called St. Hilda's Well.
Aislaby is written in some old documents Aysleyby, and in Domesday Book Asuluesbi. The latter affords a clue to the origin of the name, the bi or dwelling of Asulf. Asulf was a not uncommon personal name among the Danes, but nothing is known of the Asulf in question. The church, dedicated to St. Margaret, is a very plain unecclesiastical looking building, erected in 1732. But Aislaby had its chapel in Catholic times, very little however has been recorded concerning it. It was subject to the church of St. Mary, Whitby, and like it, was served by the monks of Whitby. After the Reformation, it was permitted to fall to decay, and had become a complete ruin a century prior to the erection of the present edifice. During that time the inhabitants appear to have been without any provision for the celebration of divine worship, unless they journeyed to the parish church, three miles distant. The old chapel had an endowment, consisting of a piece of land, for the perpetual maintenance of a light, called St. Margaret's light. The contributors to the fund for the erection of the present church were J. Burdett, Esq., Mr. Mark Noble, Mr. Norrison Coverdale, Mr. John Keld, Mr. James Yeoman, Richard Huntrods, Fras. Huntrods, Richard Woodhouse, Thomas Yeoman, and John Wilkinson. Subsequently Mrs. Noble, wife of Mr. Mark Noble, endowed it with £10 a year for ever, towards the maintenance of a curate, and on account of this donation, the patronage was vested in the Noble family. It is now in dispute between the Archbishop of York and the Boulbys, who claim it as the descendants of Mark Noble on the female side. The church will accommodate 150. The living is a new vicarage, served at present by one of the curates of Whitby, and worth £120 per annum. Aislaby is now for all ecclesiastical purposes a separate parish, and will, doubtless, after the settlement of the patronage question, have again its own resident incumbent.
The school was enlarged by subscription in 1885. The late Mr. Henry Swinton Walker, of Woodlands, in this township, who died in 1874, endowed it with £200 in the three per cent annuities, for the education of poor children resident in the township of Aislaby.
Briggswath is a neat hamlet, partly in this township and partly in that of Ruswarp. There is a Wesleyan Chapel here, endowed with the rent of three cottages.
HAWSKER-CUM-STAINSACRE is a joint township in the parish of Whitby, comprising 3,790 acres, and a population of 962. The rateable value is £7,757. Sir Charles William Strickland is lord of the manor, and the principal landowners are Captain Turton, of Upsall Castle; W. H. Atlay, Esq.; Messrs. Simpson and Chapman, bankers, Whitby; and Christopher Richardson, Esq., Field House, Whitby.
The village, which consists of two parts, known as High and Low Hawsker, stands three miles S. by E. of Whitby. The shaft of a headless cross stands in the garth in front of Hawsker Hall. It is said to be the only relic left of the chapel founded here by Aschetine de Haukesgarth, in the reign of King Stephen. Aschetine, or Aschetil, had received Hawsker and Normanby from William, the abbot of Whitby, in exchange for Newholm. This was in 1123. Subsequently, he endowed the chapel he had built with a portion of his land, and, resigning the remainder of his estate to his two sons, he became a monk in the Abbey of Whitby. The chapel was served by the monks till the dissolution of the monastery; but the unholy hands that seized the monastic property did not make any provision for the future support of a minister at Hawsker, and the chapel appears to have been thenceforth abandoned. In 1877, the present church was erected, and dedicated to All Saints, as the old chapel had been. It is in the French Gothic style, and consists of nave, chancel, and central tower, with a pointed roof. The designs were furnished by Mr. Smales, of Whitby, and the total cost, exclusive of the site, which was given by Mr. John Stephenson, was £1,800. This was raised by subscription and grant of Ecclesiastical Commissioners. Several of the windows are stained glass memorials. In 1878, a district was allotted to the church, and the living constituted a vicarage, The Archbishop of York is the patron, and the gross yearly value, £300. The Rev. Robert Fannin McCausland, B.A., is the present incumbent.
The vicarage house is a substantial stone structure, erected by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1883, at an expense of £1,650. Above the door are the arms of Whitby Abbey, with motto, surmounted by the name of Aschetine de Haukesgarth, the founder of the first chapel of Hawsker. There is also a Latin inscription, which tells us that this is "the lodging of a priest going to Jerusalem."
The church and vicarage are situated at the corner of Summerfield Lane, and nearly equally distant from all parts of the parish.
The Wesleyan Methodists have a small chapel, built in 1831, and situated between High and Low Hawsker. The National School, with teachers' residence, was erected in 1867, at a cost of £1,000, raised by subscription, and enlarged in 1870, by a voluntary rate. It will accommodate 150 scholars, and has an average attendance of 60.
Hawsker Hall, a whitewashed building, has been shorn of its ancient beauty, and now presents a neglected appearance. Larpool Hall is an elegant dressed stone mansion, in the classic style, situated amidst hanging woods and charming glades that here line the banks of the Esk. It is the property of Captain Turton, of Upsall Castle. Cock Mill is a hamlet delightfully situated in a richly-wooded dingle, and named from the mill which anciently stood here belonging to the monks of Whitby. The building, though modern in construction, is of primitive design. Here the river meets with a depression in its bed, and forms a small but beautiful waterfall. In a field near Whitby Laithes are two upright stones, which are, traditionally, said to mark the spots where a couple of arrows alighted, that were shot by Robin Hood and Little John from the tower of Whitby Abbey.
Stainsacre is a considerable estate, united with Hawsker for fiscal purposes. The hall is the property and residence of W. H. Attlay, Esq.
On the cliff known as Ling Hill two lighthouses were erected in 1858, at a cost of £8,000, by the brethren of Trinity House, as a guide and a warning to mariners approaching Whitby. They are octagonal towers of stone, 18 feet in diameter, and standing 258 yards apart. The lantern is ascended by a winding stair and is surrounded by an outside gallery from which the lighthouse keeper can sweep the waves with his telescope. One lighthouse is 69 feet high, and the other 40 feet, and both rise to nearly 250 feet above the sea level. The lights are constructed on the dioptric principle, and are visible for a distance of 23 miles. When both lights are distinctly seen all is well, but should they appear as one, then the master of the vessel must instantly change his course or he will be dashed on the Whitby rocks.
A School Board of five members was formed in 1877, and a school erected and opened in January, 1880. It will accommodate 180, and has an average attendance of 77.
NEWHOLM-CUM-DUNSLEY is a joint township lying on the shore of Dunsley Bay. Its total area is 2,254 acres, rateable value, £3,004, and the number of inhabitants 400. The soil is a variable mixture of clay and loam, and is owned chiefly by Sir C. W. Strickland, Bart., lord of the manor; the Marquis of Normanby, George Corner, Esq.; the exors. of John Chapman, Esq.; George Pyman, Esq., J.P., C.C.; Messrs. Corner and Readman; John Weighill, Esq.; Edward Ormston; the exors. of Joseph Campion, Esq.; Sir George Elliot, Bart.; and the exors. of Mrs. Mary Fletcher.
Newholm is a small village two miles west of Whitby. There is a small chapel here belonging to the Wesleyans. East Row is a village pleasantly situated near the shore, about a quarter of a mile from Sandsend. Straggleton is the name of a hamlet two miles W.N.W., and Raithwaite is another, two miles N.W. of Whitby.
Dunsley Bay, which lies between Sandsend and Whitby, is generally supposed to have been the Dunum Sinus of Ptolemy, one of the landing places of the Romans. From Dunsley a Roman road extended to Malton, but no traces of it are now to be seen. The Danes are said to have landed at Dunsley Bay in one of their incursions in the year 867. The memory of their visit is preserved in the name of Raven Hill, where they are said to have erected their standard.
The National school in the village was erected by subscription in 1863, at a cost of £500. It is a neat stone structure, capable of accommodating 150, average attendance, 80. Church service is held in it every Sunday afternoon, by the rector of Whitby or one of his curates. Near the school are the remains of a chapel, supposed to have been built in the reign of Henry VII. Two previous churches are said to have occupied the site; the first built about A.D. 600, and the second, by Peter de Mauley, about 1150.
RUSWARP is a township adjoining and partly included in the town of Whitby. Its area, inclusive of foreshore, is 1,750 acres, its rateable value, £30,365, and population, 4,839. Sir Charles W. Strickland is lord of the manor. The landowners are Sir George Elliot, Henry Simpson, Esq., John Chapman Walker, Esq., Joseph John Chapman, Esq., H. A. H. Rastall, Esq., Rev. H. W. Yeoman, and Lieut.-Col. Benson.
The village is delightfully situated on the banks of the Esk, near the station of its own name on the Whitby and Pickering branch of the North Eastern railway. The scenery in this part of the Esk valley is very picturesque, and the walks in the vicinity afford some lovely rambles. An iron foot bridge connecting Ruswarp with Sneaton was erected in 1872, at the joint expense of the two townships. At the upper end of the village is the Old Hall, a large brick house, once the property and residence of the Bushell family, dating from the time of James I. At the opposite end is an old water corn mill, built in 1752.
The church of St. Bartholomew was built and consecrated in 1869. The plans were furnished by Mr. Noel Armfield, architect, of Whitby. The style is Early English or thirteenth century Gothic. The edifice comprises an apsidal chancel, nave, porch, and tower surmounted by a spire. The total cost was about £4,000, which was raised by public subscription. The six windows in the facets of the apse are of stained glass, and the one in the west end is a memorial of the late T. W. Belcher, Esq., of Mayfield, by whom the font, a fine piece of carving in Caen stone, was presented. A stained glass window was inserted by the parishioners in 1887, in memory of Her Majesty's jubilee. The pulpit is of Caen stone, bearing in its four panels the emblems of the four evangelists. The oak lectern and eagle were the gift of Mr. John Corner, of London, formerly of Ruswarp, by whom the fourth window of the apse was also given. The living is a vicarage in the gift of the Archbishop of York, and endowed by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners with £300 per annum. Attached to the church is the vicarage, built in 1870, at a cost of £1,600, partly raised by subscription and partly contributed by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. Rev. James Dingle, of St. Aidan's college, is vicar and surrogate.
The school in connection with the church was built in 1878, at a cost of £700 raised by subscription. It will accommodate 100, and has an average attendance of about half that number.
Ewe Cote and Stakesby are hamlets in this township. The hall at the former place bears the date 1692. Sneaton Castle is a handsome modern mansion in the Gothic style, built by the late Col. Wilson.
Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.