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Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey was founded in 657 AD by Saint Hilda, daughter of King Oswy of Northumbria. She picked the site on cliffs above the Anglo-Saxon community of Streonshalh on the Yorkshire coast. Hilda became abbess of a double-community of monks and nuns. The abbey became home to the great Saxon poet Caedmon.

In 644, the abbey was the site of the Synod of Whitby, at which the Northumbrian Celtic church was reconciled to Rome. In 867, the abbey fell to Viking attack, and was abandoned until 1078, when it was re-founded by Reinferd. The second monastery lasted until it was destroyed by Henry VIII in 1540. The abbey buildings fell into ruins, and were mined for stone, but remained a prominent landmark for sailors.