St Mary’s Church in Whitby ‘not under threat’

A view of St Mary’s in Whitby, where landslips have dislodged banks of earth containing human remains from graves

A view of St Mary’s in Whitby, where landslips have dislodged banks of earth containing human remains from graves

First published in News

A church overlooking an historic North Yorkshire harbour is not under threat despite parts of its graveyard continuing to disappear down the surrounding cliffs, officials have said.

A series of landslips over the last two months have dislodged banks of earth containing human remains from graves at St Mary’s in Whitby – a church with connections to the Dracula story.

The debris has been tumbling down behind houses and businesses on the east side of the picture-postcard town.

Engineering work is under way to stabilise the cliff. Landslides have also struck further down the coast in Scarborough and Filey.

Residents have been urged to remain vigilant following the incidents, which have been reported in Khyber Pass and The Cragg in Whitby, behind the Clock Café in Scarborough’s South Bay, and Church Ravine in Filey. Some footpaths have been closed as a precaution.

Work to dismantle five properties in Aelfleda Terrace, Whitby, which were affected by a landslip in December, was completed before Christmas.

Comments (3)

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4:09pm Fri 11 Jan 13

PKH says...

Looking at the photo it looks like the old ruined abbey will be under threat before the church
Looking at the photo it looks like the old ruined abbey will be under threat before the church PKH
  • Score: 0

4:10pm Fri 11 Jan 13

yorkborn66 says...

Because the church was built on solid rock. (Failed to add to story to make it relevant to the title )
Because the church was built on solid rock. (Failed to add to story to make it relevant to the title ) yorkborn66
  • Score: 0

8:37pm Sat 12 Jan 13

Colin Grice says...

There is no solid rock to build on, as can be seen from the exposed cliff face.
It will be built on a shale layer which is soft and fractured. Below that are layers of mudstone and clay.
These cause stability problems throughout the area.
When one section has slipped there is a very good chance adjacent areas are at increased risk until we have a prolonged dry spell.
Serious work should be undertaken promptly, although a ruined church would have some appeal I suppose.
It will be too late when cracks appear by the wall in a few years time.
There is no solid rock to build on, as can be seen from the exposed cliff face. It will be built on a shale layer which is soft and fractured. Below that are layers of mudstone and clay. These cause stability problems throughout the area. When one section has slipped there is a very good chance adjacent areas are at increased risk until we have a prolonged dry spell. Serious work should be undertaken promptly, although a ruined church would have some appeal I suppose. It will be too late when cracks appear by the wall in a few years time. Colin Grice
  • Score: 0

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