YorkshireWHITBYStMaryVirgin(darrenflindersCC-BY-ND2.0)1 DarrenFlinders

St Mary the Virgin

No visit to Whitby is complete until you have visited the old church on the East Cliff.

Whitby, Yorkshire

Opening times

Open daily: 10am to 4pm.

Address

Abbey Plain
Whitby
Yorkshire
YO22 4JT

No matter from which angle you approach it you will not be prepared for what awaits you inside. Enter into a small low ceiling area, and then open the double doors to a building that takes your breath away. 

If you take a look at the east side of the tower you will see signs that indicate the pitch of the first church. That building was a long narrow building that stretched the full length of the building you now see. That makes the building much older than the adjacent abbey ruins.

To give more seating the building is full of galleries and it now has provision to seat over two thousand people. To make extra space the staircases to some of the galleries are on the outside of the building. It is recorded that at one memorial service the congregation exceeded three thousand.

No matter where you sit in the building you can be seen by the person using the top level of the three decker pulpit. At the back of the pulpit parts of an ear trumpet device are fitted so that the wife of the Rector, who we are informed was partly deaf, could hear the sermon given by her husband.

On your left of the aisle can be seen a small cupboard in which were placed loaves of bread to be given to the poor attending services. The walls are covered by an assortment of memorials to past members of Whitby. One of the memorials differs as it uses two different methods of keeping dates. Two boards placed in the roof space of the chancel due to lack of wall space are often missed by visitors. The building contains some interesting monuments which are self explanatory. There are also lots of pen knife graffiti but you would need permission to start to look for them and plenty of spare time.

The building has some stained glass, mostly by Kemp. The oldest glass is the window in the south transept.

Outside many of the grave stones have names of ships, trades or professions and also name the place where people died or are buried, if different to Whitby.

  • Spectacular stained glass

  • Social heritage stories

  • Glorious furnishings

  • Fascinating churchyard

  • Famous connections

  • Enchanting atmosphere

  • Captivating architecture

  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

  • Space to secure your bike

  • Parking within 250m

  • On street parking at church

  • Level access to the main areas

  • Dog friendly

  • Accessible toilets nearby

  • Church of England

Contact information

Other nearby churches

Whitby Abbey

Whitby, Yorkshire

Whitby Abbey has been inspiring visitors for nearly 1500 years; now it’s your turn.

St Mary

Goathland, Yorkshire

There has been a place of worship in Goathland, on the North Yorkshire Moors, for at least eight centuries and the present building, which was completed in 1896.