Charlotte’s holiday homework is to keep a diary, so she’s been helping me out on the blog this week. We tried to find out some facts I never knew about Whitby, including snakes and monkey puzzle trees…
- A monastery was built in AD657 by King Oswy of Northumbria. It became one of the most important religious centres in the Anglo-Saxon world under the Abbess Hild. She ruled over both men and women in a double monastery called Streaneshalch.
- It is said that sea birds flying over the ruins of the abbey tip their wings in honour of Hilda while the presence of ammonite fossils on the shore at Whitby is explained as the remains of a plaque of snakes which Hilda turned to stone.
- Whitby Abbey was the inspiration for a famous scary book called Dracula by Bram Stoker that was written 1897. Lots of people come to Whitby at Halloween.
- Some people say there are 199 steps, some say 198 and others 200. so they say you have to try and count them for yourself!
Things we want to try next time we go back:
- Daddy wants to go here: Victorian Museum of Science
- Mummy would like a necklace made of Jet
Jet Shop W. Hamond says: Unlike most gemstones, Whitby Jet is actually fossilised wood, similar to our present day Monkey Puzzle or Araucaria Tree, which has been compressed over millions of years.
The colour of Whitby Jet is unique; its blackness is so intense that the expression ‘as black as jet’ has been a commonly used phrase for hundreds of years.
Queen Victoria had a necklace made of Whitby Jet
Read more about it here: Whitby Jet
- Katherine and I want to bring our buckets and spades and go down to the beach and ride on a donkey in the summer.
Other facts we found out about Whitby:
- By 1795 Whitby had become a major whaling port. The most successful year was 1814 when eight ships caught 172 whales.
- The famous explorer Captain Cook learned how to be a sailor in Whitby and his ship the HMS Endeavor that he sailed to Australia and New Zealand was built in Whitby.