The first monastery was founded in 657 AD by the Anglo-
Saxon era King of Northumbria, Oswy (Oswiu) as Streoneshalh
(the older name for Whitby). He appointed Lady Hilda, abbess
of Hartlepool Abbey and grand-niece of Edwin the first Christian
king of Northumbria, as founding abbess. The name Streoneshalh
is thought to signify Fort Bay or Tower Bay in reference to a
supposed Roman settlement that previously existed on the site.
Streoneshalch was laid waste by Danes in successive raids
between 867 and 870 under Ingwar and Ubba and
remained desolate for more than 200 years.
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