Runswick Bay has been inhabited since before Roman times, as burial mounds found on the moors behind the village suggest. This delightful hideaway, with its steep track down into the bay, is a picture postcard example of the East Coast delights, its sheltered anchorage offering an ideal spot for fishermen, whalers and smugglers. However it has suffered the ravages of time and weather. In 1682 a landslide destroyed the entire settlement with the exception of one cottage. Fortunately no-one was hurt because two mourners attending a wake realised what was happening and evacuated the village. A new community was built on the cliff side but its precarious position made it vulnerable to the forces of nature. The completion of the sea wall in 1970 has hopefully secured the future of Runswick once and for all.
Alan Whitworth was born in Huddersfield and now lives in Whitby. He worked in graphic design and printing before becoming involved in local history and the preservation of old buildings. A founding member of the British Dovecote Society, Alan now writes and lectures full time on architecture and local history.