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Whitby Abbey, Whitby, North Yorkshire

Whitby Abbey, Whitby, North Yorkshire
Photograph taken 04 March 2001 © Mr John Turner. Source Historic England Archive ref: 326506

The first monastery here was founded in AD 657 by King Oswy of Northumbria. It was an Anglo-Saxon style 'double monastery' for men and women. Its first ruler was the formidable royal princess Abbess Hild. In 1078 the abbey was re-established by Reinfrid, one of William the Conqueror’s knights who had become a monk. It was a Benedictine Abbey. The present ruined buildings were begun in about 1220 in the Early English style of Gothic. Abbeys and monasteries also supported the sick and disabled as part of the Church's teachings. The monks and nuns would follow the seven 'comfortable works' which involved feeding, clothing and housing the poor, visiting them when in prison or sick, offering drink to the thirsty, and burial. The abbey was dissolved on 14 December 1539 when there were twenty two monks and domestic staff in residence.This site is now in the care of English Heritage (2010).