A JOURNAL found more than four centuries ago has been reproduced with the help of Kirkbymoorside History Group (KHG).

Alice Barrigan, a descendant of well-known Whitby families, including Langbornes’ shipbuilders, found an 18th century journal of a whaling voyage from Whitby in an old family bible.

The journal was written by Thomas Atkinson, a surgeon who was born and brought up in Kirkleatham, near Redcar, and told of his voyage in 1774 in the Hope of Whitby, captained by Robert Peacock, to the Davis Straits, near Greenland.

Louise Mudd, from KHG, said she had contacted Alice to ask if she would be willing to allow the group to reproduce the journal in booklet form.

She said: “We discovered the basic text had been put onto a blog site and it was rather hard to appreciate the detail and descriptions of such a remarkable journey by a local man back in the 1700s. Especially as it covers the lands and people he encountered.

“It’s more of a diary of discovery, his trip into the dangerous seas around the Davis Straits and Greenland. Quite a remarkable venture for a young man of 21 and even more remarkable it survived.

“The history group has worked alongside Alice to recreate the journal, now carefully illustrated with antique images of the time. What is more remarkable is that this is the only surviving record of any voyage undertaken by the ship The Hope, which sailed from Whitby.

“Many local men and boys went to sea to serve apprenticeships, or to work their trade as carpenters, cooks and doctors.

“So, the area has strong ties with shipping; many businessmen had shares in these ships and some of the grand homes were built as a result of the profits made.”

A Surgeon’s Tale, by Alice Barrigan and published by the Kirkbymoorside History Group, is £4 with half the profits going to the Whitby Literary and Philosophical Society, where Alice is a member. For more information, email kmshistory@btinternet.com