Folklore and legends
St Hilda the Abbess of Whitby has a couple of legends associated with her .One legends says birds especially sea birds would not fly over the Abbey for fear of soiling it when St Hilda was there and it was also claimed that those that flew past it always dipped their wings in flight "thus to do lowly obeisance to its hallowed precincts". "They told how sea-fowls pinions fail As over Whitby's towers they sail and sinking down, with fluttering faint, they do homage to the saint". Sir Walter Scott recorded a better know legend concerning St Hilda "How, of a thousand snakes, each one, was changed into a coil of stone, when the holy Hilda prayed".
This is the story of how St Hilda changed snakes into stones the snakes were really ammonites (see coat of arms on index page these are a extinct shell fish which was a strange coiled creature as its feet where situated near its head). St Hilda as legend says" was given the task of founding an Abbey on the plains of Whitby the place was so infested with snakes that habitation by humans seemed in possible. There was no way of clearing the site and all attempts failed. St Hilda prayers even failed she prayed that the snakes might fall over the cliff and never return this didn't clear the site. Determined to build her Abbey on pure clean ground. St Hilda obtained a whip she uttered prayers to banish the snakes this time following it with crack of the whip at the persistent creatures. On this occasion it worked the terrified snakes fled before her .Most of them threw themselves over the cliffs losing there heads in the process. All were turned to stone, some said it was the whip that cut off their heads after a time no more snakes where found near the Abbey. You can still find these fossils in the cliffs and on the beaches today, we even have three on the towns coat of arms strengthening the legend of St Hilda and the snakes.
If your lucky enough to visit my home town in the summer months take a walk up to the Abbey between 10-11 am you might see St Hilda and look towards the northern part of the choir if the suns position and the timings right you might see a vision of the Lady Hilda in the highest windows of the Abbey for it is said that" the resemblance of a woman she is arrayed in a shroud by tradition said to be the appearance of St Hilda in her glorified state". Some say St Hilda loved Whitby so much she never left the Abbey others say its a trick of the light I'll let you make up your own mind.
Some of St Hilda's snakes
Legend of the bells
Planting the Penny Hedge
Asked by tourists to Yorkshire why we eat our Yorkshire puddings before the main course? The answer lies with the history of the moorland around these parts. It centers on a small village some miles inland comprising of 3 or 4 farm houses and a few thatched cottages. At the time of the Vikings raids when the Vikings raped and pillaged in the area the villagers being so far inland from the coast thought they were secure from attackers. Nothing stopped the Vikings though they made there way inland raping and plundering they knew these remote villages would provide them with refreshment and rest.
The band of 20 strong Vikings entered the village just as the ladies were serving dinner (noontime) the ladies not knowing of the invasion took them to be visitors and set before these large hungry men a dinner of beef 3 vegetables and Yorkshire pudding. The Vikings sat down and ate their meal all around the village they were subdued it was the Yorkshire pudding that had charmed them. Instead of raping and plundering the village they ask for more Yorkshire pudding. They ate the lot and the ladies of the village had to make more to satisfy the Vikings. The village was spared. Instead of raping the women and plundering the village the villagers escaped harm. The Viking intend on carrying the raid so the villagers suggested that they go over the hills into Lancashire and raid to their hearts content and where it was impossible to get real YORKSHIRE PUDDINGS. However the villagers did suffer for the Vikings had eaten all the Yorkshire puddings and there wasn't any spare ingredients to make more for the Villagers. So as a consequence so that they would never suffer the same lack of Yorkshire puddings again. True Yorkshire folk eat their Yorkshire pudding before the main course. just incase there's another Viking raid.
If your a Viking reading this be warned if you knock on my door you wont get any yorkie puds as
I eat mine first and their lurvly with a knob of sage and onion in with