Whitby and some of its historical facts " />

Whitby and some of its historical facts

In 656, in Anglo-Saxon times, Whitby was actually called Streonshal. This was when Osway was the Christian King of Northumbria and founded Whitby Abbey under its first Abbess, Hilda.


Over two hundred years later in 867, the monastery was brought to the ground by Viking raiders and was not rebuilt for over 200 years until 1078. It was during these times that the town actually established its current name of Whitby (from "white settlement" in Old Norse). Jumping much further ahead in time to the 18th century, Whitby became a town which was primarily focused around shipbuilding and whaling, as well as trading in Alum and the now famous Whitby jet. Whitby Abbey is one of the town's biggest tourist attractions and, situated on the East Cliff overlooking Whitby, provides fantastic panoramic views over the town, the harbour and beyond towards Sandsend.

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One of the most famous characters associated with Whitby is Dracula, the central character of a book written by Bram Stoker, the famous author who was staying in Whitby at the time of writing. Dracula is widely considered to be one of the most famous Gothic figures ever created. Stoker was lodging on the Royal Crescent in Whitby whilst writing Dracula. In fact there is a blue plaque to commemorate this fact on one of the large imposing Victorian terraced properties. It is well known that Stoker was influenced by the local surroundings whilst writing the book, featuring passages such as the ghostly ship 'Demeter' pulling ashore with the huge black wolf pouncing from the deck into the darkness. Stoker based both the ship and the beast from ideas while talking to local townsfolk, who told him of the Russian ship 'Dmitri' which, like the ship from the book, had previously been beached in the town's harbour. Local folklore often told of 'Barguest', the huge black phantom hound which was said to prowl the Yorkshire Moors, with a particular preference for the Whitby area. It was in the Whitby library that Stoker first came across the name Dracula, when he borrowed a book with the title 'An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia', written in 1820 by William Wilson. This book included in one of its paragraphs 'Voivode Dracula' which is the Voivode Dracula character in battle with the Turks. One item in particular caught the attention of Stoker - Dracula in the Wallachian dialect means Devil!


There is also a statue on the West Cliff of one of the town's most famous inhabitants, Captain James Cook. All four of Cook's ships were built in Whitby: Endeavour, Resolution, Adventure and Discovery and it was from Whitby that James Cook embarked on his journey to discover Australia.
The Captain Cook Museum is situated in a 17th-century house very close to Whitby Harbour, the location is where, as an apprentice, he had Lodgins . It was whilst living in Whitby that Cook trained to be a

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