Lying on the North East coastline of England, Whitby is a picturesque seaside town, famous for its connections with Captain James Cook, the book 'Dracula' by Bram Stoker (1897), St. Hilda’s Abbey and the 199 stone steps. In the area of the North York Moors National Park, which roughly corresponds to what was once the Jurassic sea, the rugged coastline consists of very steep cliffs, many up to 75m high. In these cliffs, around the coastline of Whitby, jet deposits can be found.
Youngs Jewellers is situated at 45 Skinner Street next door to Elizabeth Botham’s Bakery. Skinner Street nestles between the town centre and the west cliff.
A religious site may have existed on the cliffs at Whitby as early as 655 Northumbrian King Oswy defeated Penda, the king of Mercia and undertook the founding of several monasteries. The monastery was sited high on the exposed cliffs over the town of Whitby. In 664, the Synod of Whitby took place where the differences between the Roman and Celtic calendars were discussed. It was decided to adopt the Roman calendar. In 867 the area was invaded by the Danes and the monastery, like many other in the region were destroyed.
The monastery laid in ruins until the end of the eleventh century when monks from Winchcombe and Evesham travelled to the north and settled. An abbey was refounded with help from the Percy family and a new Saxon monastery was built on the site. The eastern end of the church was rebuilt in around 1220. The end of the Abbey came in 1540 and was granted to the Cholmley family. Since then it fell into disrepair and was robbed for its building materials. The central tower fell in 1830 leaving the remaining ghostly shell you see today.
James Cook was born on 27 October 1728 in Marton, in Cleveland, England. He began as a farm labourer in nearby Great Ayton. He found employment at 18 on the Baltic Sea in a Collier sailing out of Whitby.
James Cook led a 1768 expedition to explore new lands in the Pacific Ocean. In his first Pacific voyage, he rounded Cape Horn in the Whitby built bark H.M Bark Endeavour and reached Tahiti on 3 June 1769. He next explored and claimed possession of eastern Australia returning to England, on 12 June 1771, via New Guinea, Java and the Cape of Good Hope.
The ships sailed around the Cape of Good Hope to reach the west coast of America in February of 1778. They continued north along the coast to the Bering Sea in an attempt to pass through the Arctic Ocean during the summer season. Foiled by ice, he returned to Hawaii to prepare for another attempt the next season. Soon after they had departed, a damaged Resolution was forced to return for repairs. Unfortunately, having previously overstayed their welcome, relations became tense. The theft of a ship's cutter led Captain Cook to put ashore to demand the return of the boat. A fight broke out and James Cook was killed on 14 Feb 1779 by angry natives.