Dominating the seaport of Whitby from its headland site, the imposing and brooding ruins of Whitby Abbey date from the seventh century. The renowned and wise St Hilda ruled over the first monastery and witnessed one of the defining moments in the establishment of the Church - the Synod of Whitby in AD 664. Sacked by the Vikings, it lay in ruins until the Norman Conquest when it was re-established and grew into one of the most powerful and richest Abbeys in Yorkshire.Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII the site was sold and the lord of the manor built himself a grand private residence, using some of the stone from the Abbey. Over time the abbey ruins came into the guardianship of English Heritage who have in the last fifty years conserved the ruins for posterity and transformed the headland into a major tourist area.
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.