Whitby's centuries-old tradition of the Penny Hedge returns - where and when to see it

Whitby's Penny Hedge ceremony takes place this Wednesday (Mar 12).

Monday, 10th May 2021, 11:26 am
Updated Monday, 10th May 2021, 11:28 am

The centuries-old tradition could not happen last year due to Covid, but it is back on Wednesday at its usual spot along Church Street, near Billy Wilson's, 9am start.

The ceremony, carried out on the eve of Ascension Day each May, dates back to 1159 when the Abbot of Whitby imposed a penance on three hunters and on their descendants for all time, for murdering a hermit on the outskirts of the town at Eskdale.

Legend has it that the hedge - the penance imposed by the Abbot - made out of woven willow stakes, must withstand three tides and the reference to penny is because a knife of a penny price must be used.

The traditional Penny Hedge event in Whitby in 2019 - Lol Hodgson and Tim Osborne work on the hedge.
The traditional Penny Hedge event in Whitby in 2019 - Lol Hodgson and Tim Osborne work on the hedge.

A horn blower and the bailiff of the Manor of Fylingthorpe then declare the building of the hodges complete.