views of the bay

Robin Hood's Bay is a fishing village in North Yorkshire, about seven miles from Whitby. Like Whitby, it hugs the cliffs, making it a scenic place to live. The name Robin Hoods Bay doesn't appear on record until the sixteenth century, it is also known by another name sometimes referred to as Baytown. One mile south of the bay are some bronze age burial mounds which are called Robin Hoods Butts, yes it is true. In the Whitby museum there is evidence that the village Ravenscar, a mile from the bay, was a roman signal station. Ravenscar is the town that in Victorian times, nobody wanted to move to, as there were no houses laid out, in fact the only thing built were the roads!

During the 18th and 19th centuries fishing flourised in the Bay. At one time the Bay was more prosperous then Whitby for it's fishing industry. Whole familys worked in it, men, women and children, salting the herring and putting them into barrels. The men fished whilst the women baited the lines. as well as salting and barreling the fish. The boys made lobster pots and mended any damaged nets. Today the Bay has the best crab grounds on the coast. In 1538, Baytown swelled in size as people moved from the village of Raw, which overlooks the Bay, views from there are amazing, overlooking the Bay to the sea and Ravenscar. Press gangs for the navy were operating at this time and many a good young Bay seaman was taken for the navy. Men hid from them while the press gangs were attacked by women with rolling pins trying to save their menfolk from the navy. Robin Hoods Bay was ideal for smuggling, and in the 18th and 19th centuries, it thrived there. Because it is so isolated, it is said a bale of cotton could go from the bottom of the Bay to the top without seeing daylight. Houses and Inns are known to have connecting cellars and cupboards, that's how they used to smuggle the goods out. Even the local squires joined in on the act by financing the smuggling, despite having the threat of being hung if you were caught, so it must have been worth there while to do it. Coastguard men in 1856 were given the job of stopping the smuggling at the Bay, and Whitby based excise men (customs officers) were given the task to stop it, in the end Dragoons (soldiers) were brought in to help.


views of the bay

In 1881, a sailing ship from Whitby called the Vistor, ran aground in a snowstorm and heavy sea at the Bay. The Whitby lifeboat, Robert Whitworth, was brought from Whitby, pulled as they were in those days by horses and men. Deep snow on the road meant they had to cut their way through snow drifts which took them three hours to reach the Bay. Then they launched the lifeboat in mountainous seas, unfortunately it had to return with smashed oars. Bay man, Robert Skelton, waded out to the boat and managed to sail a course to the Vistor, thankfully the whole crew was saved.


view of ravenscar from old bay church

The old church at the top of the bank was originally built in 1108 by William de Percy, an Abbot at Whitby. It was later demolished, the church there now was built in 1821. If you visit the church, see if you can find the grave with the carved stone chains. To visit other areas about England, click on the buttons below.

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