No visit to Whitby is complete until you have visited the old church on the East Cliff.
‘The qualities of simplicity, breadth and sturdiness were felt to be especially required for such a bleak moorland situation, and were aimed at in the design’.
Towards the end of the 11th century, a small group of Christian brothers settled by the Eller Beck to the South of modern day Goathland. They built a chapel called ‘St Mary at Godeland’, probably close to their hermitage buildings.
Records from 1568, during the reign of Elizabeth I, tell of St Mary’s Chapel which was by then probably near to the site of the present church. By 1821 a new church building had been completed, standing on a site next to the present church in what is now the old churchyard.
The present church was designed by William Brierley of York and completed in 1896. The style is perpendicular, with some Arts and Crafts overtones. Much of the woodwork was made by Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson of Kilburn.
The church has some good pictorial stained glass, the east window and the south wall windows being from the early 20th century. The two west end windows are modern, commissioned for the Millennium.
Although the church is late Victorian, it contains several artefacts from the earlier churches and chapels, dating back to the Norman or even Saxon periods.