WHITBY has been unveiled as the nation’s most romantic ruin.
A nationwide poll has named Whitby Abbey as the most amorous ruin in the country, beating places like Corfe Castle and Kenilworth Castle, according to the February edition of BBC’s Countryfile Magazine.
A panel of judges, led by TV presenter John Craven, had shortlisted 10 properties for the poll in last November’s issue, and the public were invited to vote for the one that they thought was most worthy.
And Whitby Abbey came out on top.
John Craven said he was delighted when he heard the news.
“It’s a well-deserved winner,” he said. “The abbey ruins dominate my favourite coastal town.
“When I was a boy, my family rented a holiday cottage at the foot of the 199 steps that lead to it and I regularly climbed them just for fun. The view from the top is breath-taking; the setting couldn’t be more romantic.”
Staff at Whitby Abbey are celebrating the news too.
Visitor operations manager Jamie Marshall said: “We often get requests from nervous guys who ask us to put champagne on ice for them, as many prospective grooms chose Whitby Abbey as their chosen place to pop the question, but it is wonderful to have Whitby’s romance celebrated in this way – yet another reason for people to visit.”
Whitby Abbey’s success is probably due, in part at least, to a very loyal following on Twitter; followers of Whitby Abbey were quick to click and register their vote when the news of the site’s short listing was announced in November.
The Whitby Gazette also encouraged readers to vote for the Abbey via the Whitby Gazette’s two facebook pages.
Whitby Abbey was founded in 657 AD by the Saxon King of Northumbria, Oswy as Streanshalh.
The name Streoneshalh is believed to signify Fort Bay or Tower Bay in reference to a supposed Roman settlement or Roman Signal Station that previously existed on the site.
He appointed Lady Hilda, niece of Edwin the first Christian king of Northumbria, as Abbess. The double monastery of Benedictine monks and nuns was also home to the great Saxon poet Caedmon.
In 664, the abbey was the site of the Synod of Whitby where 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 Regenfrith, a soldier monk, under the orders of his protector, the Norman, William de Percy.
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.