View of Abbey Church

The ruins of Whitby Abbey, on the East Cliff above the harbour town, are among the most celebrated sights of North Yorkshire. The first monastery here, founded in the 7th century, was the setting for the Synod of Whitby in 664, a landmark in the history of the Church in England. Archaeological investigation has done much to shed light on this lost settlement. The headland is now dominated by the shell of the 13th-century church of the Benedictine abbey founded after the Norman Conquest.

Researching Our Sites

These pages are part of Portico, an online resource which explores the history and significance of the sites in our care and provides a gateway to further sources of information about them.

We value your feedback about these pages. Contact us at portico@english-heritage.org.uk

About the Authors

Steven Brindle, a Senior Properties Historian at English Heritage, is the author of the English Heritage Red Guide to Whitby Abbey. Tony Wilmott is a Senior Archaeologist at English Heritage, and is currently preparing the monograph on the English Heritage excavations at Whitby Abbey.

Buy the Guidebook

A more detailed history and a comprehensive tour of Whitby Abbey can be found in the guidebook, one of the critically acclaimed series of Red Guides to English Heritage sites. 

Whitby Abbey guidebook