Unknown Abbey chapel revealed

editorial image

A 1,300-year-old chapel has this week been discovered within the grounds of Whitby Abbey, and the Gazette can exclusively reveal what it may have looked like.

Archaeologists working at Whitby have identified the building at the centre of an ancient Anglo-Saxon graveyard, where the remains over 300 people have been discovered.

Archaelogical Dig at Whitby Abbey''w141506c

Archaelogical Dig at Whitby Abbey''w141506c

The small sandstone chapel measures just 10m by 5m and was previously unknown to historians.

“This could have been a building that was familiar to St Hilda,” said English Heritage lead archaeologist Tony Wilmot.

Radio carbon dating of a rare cremation burial in the cemetary places the structure in the middle of the 7th Century.

This makes the building one of the oldest in the entire site.

Diggers working on the site 15 years ago managed to uncover some of the stones, but did not realise they had an entire building until this week.

An archaeological dig that is underway is the final part of a 20-year project to discover some of the Abbey’s secrets.

The Anglo-Saxon monastery was founded by the Abbess Hild in 657AD and the chapel is believed to originate from these earliest times.