Whitby was founded under its Old English name of Streonshal in 656, when Oswy, the Christian king of Northumbria, founded Whitby Abbey, under its first abbess Hilda. The Synod of Whitby was held here in. In 867, the monastery was destroyed by Viking raiders, and was only refounded in 1078. It was in this period that the town gained its current name, Whitby, (from "white settlement" in Old Norse). In the 18th century Whitby became a centre for shipbuilding and whaling, as well as trade in alum and jet.

Tourism and fishing now form the mainstay of the town's economy. There are rail and bus links to the rest of Yorkshire and the North East of England. Whitby has featured in literary works, television and cinema; most famously in Bram Stoker's novel, Dracula.

 

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