Whitby Abbey Erosion

December 14, 2015


Photographer: Stu Witmer
Summary Author: Stu Witmer

MVC-307SSeen above is Whitby Abbey, North Yorkshire, UK. It's the second church built on this spot and the first to use stone, in particular, local sandstone, in its construction that began around 1220. King Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1540 closed the abbey down. Parts of the building have stood for nearly 800 years directly facing all the weather the North Sea could throw at it. A walk around the ruins shows many levels of erosion due, in part, to the wind, rain and blowing sand (left).

The Abbey stands on the high side (187 ft/57 m) of a geological fault composed of layered clay, shale and sandstone. Just to the west lies the village of Whitby, one-time home of Captain James Cook, who moved here at age 18 when he joined the merchant navy. Bram Stoker spent some time lodging at a local hotel before he wrote his masterpiece "Dracula." Although it's unknown how he enjoyed his stay, a local beach has gained a certain amount of notoriety as the spot where Dracula (as a dog) first set foot (paw) in England.