It is interesting that all Western Christianity celebrates Easter at the same time, despite the wildly complicated way of calculating it (see here – confused my gull brain no end) Bu very few people realise that it is all down to our little town and the amazing woman, Hild, who ran the monastery here.
This makes Whitby one of the most significant places in Anlgo-Saxon history (who’d ‘ve thunk ?!)
Our Abbey, perched on top of the cliffs overlooking the harbour, is on the site, where in 664 The Synod was summoned to Hild’s monastery. Here English Christians aligned with the papacy, thus, amongst a raft of other things, setting the dates by which we still celebrate Easter today. There is a lot of information about The Abbey and the synod here on the English Heritage website.
In true Whitby spirit, Hild was feisty lass,who was described by Bede, as a woman of considerable energy with such wisdom that kings sought her advice. The legend of her turning an infestation of snakes into stones is still commemorated today in our Town Crest, depicting 3 ammonites. These fossils are abundant on the beaches around Whitby. Hild established her monastery at Whitby in 657, and stood at the head until her death in 680 at the age of 66, and is venerated today as a patron saint of learning and culture
So a it turns out that the reason we will all be scoffin chocs this weekend (and not another), is that a woman in a established a monastery here, in a beautiful place on the edge of the world.