Whitby Abbey

1128 Reviews

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Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

February, 2016

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Travelled with

Adult family

Reasons for trip

To most people the main attraction are the “dramatic ruins”:http://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/review/attraction/162772 set high on the headland above Whitby. There is an excellent exhibion of artefacts foud during excavations around teh abbey in the Visitor Centre.

Sir Richard Cholmley, a major landowner, bought the abbey buildings and land after the Dissolution of the monasteries and lived in the Abbey House. Sir Hugh Cholmley built a grand new wing in the C17th and laid out the entrance courtyard to provide a formal approach to the house and to emphasise his social standing. The original abbey house was used to house the kitchens and service rooms.

The Cholmleys moved away in the C18th and the roof of the house as blown off during a gale in 1790. The abbey ruins passed to the Strickland family who added a C19th wind for use as a holiday house. This is now a youth hostel.

The Cholmley Buildings have been restored recently although without the original pitched roof and cross bar glazing, and are now part of the new visitor centre with an exhibition of artefacts from the site. A replica of the famous Borghese gladiator has been placed in the courtyard, replacing the statue that originally stood here.

The building is now the ticket office and shop with an exhibition of artefacts found from the site.

Although there are no visible remains of the Anglo-Saxon monastery, geophysical surveys indicate substantial buried remains. A lot of Anglo-Saxon artefacts have been found. These include a baluster shaft providing the central support for a window opening, fragments of carved crosses and other carved stones. There are some beautiful examples of metal working including these book clasps and mounts.

Bone combs were also carefully carved and decorated, indicating high status.

There are examples of everyday objects like loom weights, pins, needles and a bone sharpener.
Another display includes spoons, bone knife handle, carved ivory pendant, a bone tuning peg from a string instrument like a lyre, tweezers and a key.

Medieval artefacts include stonework, floor tiles and pieces of medieval window glass.

There are personal belongings like the lead and jet crosses. as well as the remains of leather shoes

C16th artefacts from the Cholmleys include bits of pottery and a flagon.

All the exhibits are well displayed and labelled. It is worth spending some time looking at these before rushing off to the abbey ruins.

There are more pictures “here.”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/churches/england/ruined_abbeys/north/whitby/index.html


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