Whitby History

Smuggling tales from around Whitby

Throughout history, men have made a living from smuggling goods and living under the nose of the taxman. Whitby and the surrounding villages were a hotbed for smuggling for generations, with tales of hidden tunnels and secret societies a plenty. Here are a few Whitby smuggling tales for you to enjoy.

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The Oyster Man of Whitby

Years ago, Oysters weren’t a delicacy of the rich, in fact they were thought of as more a poor man’s food and a lot of the working class on the coast depended on oysters for a meal. And that was no different in Whitby.






The legend of the Saltersgate Inn – Part 1

Along the Hole of Horcum,on a road referred to as the Devil’s Elbow stands the remains of a once thriving pub. Famous for its rich history in smuggling, the Inn was also the basis of many different horror stories, namely to do with the origins of the fire that burnt for 200 years.


Whitby’s 199 Steps

One of the most famous landmarks in Whitby are the 199 steps that lead up to St Mary’s church, also know as the ‘Church Steps’. The reasons for walking up the steps have differed over the years, but now they are used to capture one of the most beautiful views of Whitby you can achieve.


The Whitby Ghost Book

First published in 1987, The Whitby Ghost Book by Paul McDermott (now called Paul Fitz-George since his marriage), has been revised and refreshed with a new makeover that includes story updates and new exclusive photographs, showing the various ghostly venues its tales depict.


Hand of Glory

The hand of glory is an old charm that was used by thieves throughout history, and as late as 1820. Whitby Museum is the holder of one such artefact, with a fascinating story behind it.


What is Whitby Famous For?

Most people know Whitby as a pretty little town on the Yorkshire coast, famous for great fish and chips but not much else. Locals to the area will tell you different though, and if you take the time to listen to the fishermen’s tales and the amateur historians you’ll find that Whitby is associated with a number of industries, events and people that really put it on the map.


The History Of Whitby Jet Jewellery

When most people think about semi-precious gemstones they probably think about the sparkly ones, such as topaz, amethyst, sapphire and emerald. Rarely will people think about Jet, but not only is Jet one of the earliest gemstones known to be used in the making of fine jewellery it’s also one of the rarest gemstones still being found today.