Whitby Abbey

Neal Petts

Tavistock, United Kingdom

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Artist's Description

Whitby Abbey is a ruined Benedictine abbey overlooking the North Sea on the East Cliff above Whitby in North Yorkshire, England. It was disestablished during the Dissolution of the Monasteries under the auspices of Henry VIII. It is a Grade I Listed building in the care of English Heritage.

The first monastery was founded in 657 AD by the Anglo-Saxon era King of Northumbria, Oswy as Streoneshalh (the older name for Whitby). He appointed Lady Hilda, abbess of Hartlepool Abbey and niece of Edwin the first Christian king of Northumbria, as founding abbess. The name Streoneshalh is thought to signify Fort Bay or Tower Bay in reference to a supposed Roman settlement that previously existed on the site.

Reinfrid, a soldier of William the Conqueror, became a monk and travelled to Streoneshalh, which was then known as Prestebi or Hwitebi (the “white settlement” in Old Norse). He approached William de Percy who gave him the ruined monastery of St. Peter with two carucates of land, to start the new monastery. Serlo de Percy, the founder’s brother, joined Reinfrid at the new monastery which followed the Benedictine rule.

The second monastery lasted until it was destroyed by Henry VIII in 1540 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The abbey buildings fell into ruins, and were mined for stone, but remained a prominent landmark for sailors and helped inspire Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The ruins are now owned and maintained by English Heritage.


Sony a230
DT 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 @ 18mm
UV Filter

A 3 shot HDR (-1, 0, +1) processed in Photomatix 3.2. Cropped, colour/tone adjusted and Topaz Labs spicify filter added in Photoshop CS4

Winner of Abbey Ruins in Arhitecture – The British Isles
01 Feb 2011

Featured in Postcards – Destinations
12 Oct 2010

Featured in Architecture – The British Isles
22 Oct 2010

Artwork Comments

  • Audrey Clarke
  • Neal Petts
  • Audrey Clarke
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  • Neal Petts
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  • Neal Petts
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  • Clive S
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  • Audrey Clarke
  • Neal Petts
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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