4.4.65 Whitby Abbey, North Yorkshire

Large-scale, although poorly recorded, excavations were undertaken to the north of the later medieval abbey church from 1920-25, and finally published by Peers and Radford (1943). These identified the possible plans of seven buildings with stone foundations. Four were interpreted as cells, one as a refectory, storehouse or guesthouse, and another as a smithy. A wide range of finds were discovered: sculptured stone; metalwork, including strap-ends, book mounts, personal items – such as rings and brooches, pins, and styli; bone objects, including combs and pins; glass objects, including vessels and beads; a variety of pottery, both local and imported; coinage; and a small amount of textile.

More recent excavations have been undertaken. Rahtz (1967) uncovered probable occupation layers and some pottery in an area north of the medieval abbey. Evaluation trenches opened in 1989 west of the abbey revealed a shallow midden of Saxon date, and from 1999-2000 excavations to the south of the abbey revealed a cemetery containing over 1000 8th- and 9th-century inhumations. Recent excavations have revealed that the abbey had a coastal trading site associated with it (Hinton 2005, 85). The VASLE dataset is derived from the 1946 report, as re-examined by Cramp (1976) and the EMC, and does not include these more recent excavations.

Whtiby Abbey has been equated with the double monastery known to Bede as Streanæshalch, but it has also been suggested that this may be Strensall, c. 6.5km north of York. Nonetheless, the sculptural fragments of stone crosses and the numerous graves do point to Whitby being a monastic foundation.

Fingerprint charts for i) artefact date analysis, ii) artefact type analysis, iii) artefact metal analysis and iv) coins – date of production
Artefact date analysis Artefact type analysis Artefact metal analysis Coins - date of production


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