199 Steps


A set of steps connects Old Town to St. Mary’s Churchyard, known as the Church Stairs or the 199 steps. The earliest known record of these steps dates back to 1340, but it is believed they were constructed much earlier than that. According to some historians, these steps were used by St. Hilda to test the faith of her followers as a prerequisite to worship in St. Mary’s Church.

However, there is a dispute about the exact number of steps on the staircase. Some people believe there are only 198 steps because the final step is not considered a step but the top of the stairs. Others argue that there are 200 steps, considering the first step from the bottom onto Church Street. Interestingly, in 1761, John Wesley counted only 191 steps!

Learn more about the 199 Steps here.


Historical Attraction




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