Ina asked about the Saxon name of Whitby. So I dug out this from my poetry files – it may not have been seen . . . can’t recall.
Hilda on the Shore
She picks her way with the ebb,
along the Scars towards the Nab.
In her ears, the breakers boom,
like the Roman opinions of Wilfrid –
that man come from Ripon
for the synod at Streonshalgh.
Then Cuthbert’s quiet, Celtic mind
from the north touches her,
even across the sea from Lindisfarne,
as gentle as the boneless sea hare
that glides through the bright,
clear pool at her feet.
Under the Abbey cliff she kneels –
touches the serpent coiled in stone;
then black arrow-heads she ponders,
a mass of devil’s bodkins fused
in death upon a slab of shale.
From the pool a face is staring;
her Saxon eyes are vivid still.
Her ring finger breaks the surface
and Caedmon’s music fills her breast;
She smiles to see the hydra yield
its secret heart beneath her gaze.
Harry Nicholson 2011
note: The Synod of Whitby was held 664 CE. At the Synod the old British church yielded to Rome.
To the Saxons the town was “Streonshalgh”, Whitby is the name used by the later Danes.
Hilda was the Abbess of Streonshalgh (pro. Strensall…. with a throaty ll.)
Streon’s Place – or similar.
The ‘bodkins’ are belemnite fossils.