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The Remains of Whitby Abbey


1797 Map of Whitby
Whitby is a thriving fishing port on the Yorkshire coast. In former times however Whitby was an important ecclesiastical centre and seat of the famous Synod of Whitby. Among the noted inhabitants of the town were St. Hilda of Whitby, a noble lady of great piety; Alexander of Whitby, an heretic; and a rich thaumatomane, Miss Gray. Although now given over largely to commerce, especially whaling, it is distinguished as the home of Caedmon, the Father of English Poetry, and graced by the imposing ruins of Whitby Abbey which stand on a high promontory overlooking the modern town.

There is also an excellent sort of jet which is found only along this stretch of coast and which the inhabitants of the town work very ingeniously into jewellery of all kinds.

From a remark made by John Childermass in conversation with Vinculus at the Pineapple tavern, it is clear that before he came into the service of Gilbert Norrell Childermass had visited the town and was already taking an interest in matters magical, since it was there he acquired his unusual set of the Cards of Marseilles [21].