A day on Whitby eastcliff showing around relatives from Australia. I hope I didn’t overload them with information.
In the St Hilda’s churchyard is a monument to Caedmon:

Caedmon's Cross

From Wikipedia:
Cædmon (play /ˈkædmən/ or /ˈkædmɒn/) is the earliest English poet whose name is known. An Anglo-Saxon herdsman attached to the double monastery of Streonæshalch (Whitby Abbey) during the abbacy of St. Hilda (657–680), he was originally ignorant of “the art of song” but learned to compose one night in the course of a dream, according to the 8th-century monk Bede. He later became a zealous monk and an accomplished and inspirational religious poet.

Cædmon is one of twelve Anglo-Saxon poets identified in medieval sources, and one of only three for whom both roughly contemporary biographical information and examples of literary output have survived.[1] His story is related in the Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (“Ecclesiastical History of the English People”) by Bede who wrote, “[t]here was in the Monastery of this Abbess a certain brother particularly remarkable for the Grace of God, who was wont to make religious verses, so that whatever was interpreted to him out of scripture, he soon after put the same into poetical expressions of much sweetness and humility in English, which was his native language. By his verse the minds of many were often excited to despise the world, and to aspire to heaven.”

Cædmon’s only known surviving work is Cædmon’s Hymn, the nine-line alliterative vernacular praise poem in honour of God which he supposedly learned to sing in his initial dream. The poem is one of the earliest attested examples of Old English and is, with the runic Ruthwell Cross and Franks Casket inscriptions, one of three candidates for the earliest attested example of Old English poetry. It is also one of the earliest recorded examples of sustained poetry in a Germanic language.

So, there you are. Now the church:

St Hilda's, Whitby.

Crouching low on the cliff is the church. You don’t often need to breathe up here, the air gets pumped into you.
But, inside all is peace:

The heating still works.

Box pews for those with the brass.

Thomas Skerry Sgt.

Thomas Skerry. (Beryl’s cousin (twice removed).)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Casualty details.
Sergeant Thomas Skerry, Grenadier Guards,service no. 11761; died 11 May 1915.
Son of Johnathan and Emma Skerry of 8 Grape lane, Whitby, Yorks.
Grave/ memorial Reference: Panel 2. Le Touret Memorial. He has no known grave.

Outside are the Huntrodds, at rest. Read the legend on the picture after this.

The Huntrods couple. Hard by the church wall

A bit easier to read:


The 199 Steps to Whitby harbour and the river Esk.


About Harry Nicholson

I once bred Beveren rabbits in all colours. Today, I'm an enameller who works with a kiln, fusing pictures in glass onto copper. On Amazon is my novel, 'Tom Fleck', set in the North of England of 1513 - the year of Flodden. A sequel to 'Tom Fleck' is 'The Black Caravel' published in 2016. My anthology of poems came out in 2015: 'Wandering About.' Recently I published memoirs of my time in the Merchant Navy: 'The Best of Days' and 'You'll See Wonders" I've a blog of poems, stories and art at:
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10 Responses to Caedmon

  1. Ina says:

    Thank you for this posting. Streonæshalch is the old name for Whitby, what is the pronounciation and meaning? I am going to Whitby with my husband next Feb/March for the second time, and this time I want to see the monument to Caedmon. I like the old historic info very much! 🙂

    • Hello, Ina. It is pronounced: strensall (the ‘ll’ having a Germanic, gutteral gh sound.
      Here’s a bit of info from an inland village of the same name (Strensall):
      Strensall is referred to in the Domesday Book as Streonaeshalch, after Streona, a personal name, and halch, a corner of land. The name has altered through the centuries from Strenshale in the 11th century, to Stranessale in the 14th century and to Strencile or Strencham alias Trencham in the 17th century.
      Perhaps we could meet for coffee and cake when you visit Whitby.
      I’ll now post a poem about Hilda on the blog page.

  2. Leonargo says:

    Thank you for sharing. Amazing to know the story of the Huntrodds now! At first I thought they were married on the day they were both born, but obviously its their “birthday” (or so I think) .

  3. Ena says:

    Interesting story, and a beautiful church.

  4. Deborah says:

    Wonderful as always, and I loved ‘you don’t often need to breathe up here, the air gets pumped into you’, I’ve experienced that, a real breath of fresh air! :o)

  5. earlybird says:

    Well, the Huntroods were made for each other weren’t they. What a lovely story.

  6. Tilly Bud says:

    I love sharing these journeys of yours.

    I like the new header.

  7. Mike Patrick says:

    Following you is walking in the footsteps of a historian. I always enjoy the journey. I always learn.

  8. vivinfrance says:

    You have packed a huge amount of information into this post, Harry, all of it very interesting. I loved that inscription. and the photos are splendid.

  9. Susannah says:

    Very interesting Harry and I love the inscription on the Huntrods tomb.

    They are really good photos of the inside of the church, nice angles and I love the twisted columns.

    But my favourite is that lovely picture of the steps down to Whitby Harbour. I would love to be walking down there myself ready to explore. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your week with us, I always look forward to your posts.

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