Baxtergate in Whitby

Whitby Holiday Cottages for Self-Catering Accommodation

Baxtergate in Whitby


Whitby's main industry nowadays is tourism, and there are many cottages in Whitby which provide accommodation with many cottages in Whitby being off Baxter gate which is the main shopping street in the town.
Baxtergate (A.D. 1401) is so called from a family named Baxter who owned property here from early times. In the short portion between Brunswick Street and Wellington Road is Linskill Square, which has no connections with the baxtergate in whitbyWhitby authoress, as it was so named long before her day.


Passing Wellington Road, some old buildings at the right-hand corner are typical of {the older Whitby, and a little farther on is the former Old Ship Launch Inn, a very old building with a large dormer, and said to have possessed a secret passage down to the harbour. The figure of "Ye Olde Smuggler" is probably a relic of some long forgotten wreck. The narrow passage at its side goes by the name of Loggerhead Yard, but its original name was Doctor Lane. The inn, we are told, was a favourite haunt of the smuggling fraternity, and it has a quaint interior.


Just across the street, 58 Baxtergate was the one-time residence of the curates of the Whitby Parish Church, and is even now spoken of as the Old Vicarage. Lt was purchased for} that purpose about 1827, and used by the Church authorities until 1844.  It has recently been demolished.
Old Ship Launch Inn, Baxtergate opposite, and next to the Post Office, is a well-built house with imposing frontage, now the offices of an established firmthe church of  st ninian of solicitors here lived Mr Jervis Coates, who was the first ship-builder to construct large wooden ships in Whitby.


The house was probably built by him, and contains some good panelling of the early-eighteenth century. It was afterwards connected with the families of Wardale, Reynolds and Hunter. Baxtergate was almost purely a residential street until about the year 1700, and is built upon a sandbank, indeed old mooring-posts have been discovered during excavations. In the early nineteenth century there was an iron foundry between the street and the Old Quay, belonging to Mr. George Chapman, who is buried beneath a cast-iron tombstone in the old Church- yard. There was also a clay-pipe maker here, by name Richard Hilton, but the only public building was the present brick-built chapel of St. Ninian, opened in 1788. The story is told of a
Parish clerk of this church who astonished his hearers one Sunday morning by announcing that: Net Thursday, being Good Friday, the divine service will be held in this church".


At the present day Baxtergate is the principal shopping street, and the home of the Banking- houses, all of which were formerly in or about Church Street. Leaving St Ninians we continue a few yards further to where, on the opposite side, and immediately to the east of Vipond’s Lane, or premises built on the site of a house which, at the latter end of the sixteenth century, was the residence of Sir Thomas Gower, Knight, a member of the Sittenham family of that name. He sold it in the year 1616, to one William Becke, of Whitby, described as a "Free Mason", otherwise a member of a guild. Above the adjoining premises and approached by interminable steps, is St Hildas Hall, opened in June, 1855. Here many famous stars of the Victorian concert platform have appeared, including those great entertainers the Howard Pauls, in 1860. Social functions, dioramas, and other amusements have also contributed to its history; but now, haunted by ghosts of the past, the hall concert days are over, and it serves other purposes. One of the shops below was occupied in the sixty’s by Isaac Greenxbury, one of the pioneers in the jet ornament trade.

The site of this block of buildings was formerly occupied by the Freemason’s Tavern, which possessed a large room fitted up as a theatre, in which performances were given after the burning of the theatre on Newton Street. On one occasion a religious meeting was held in the room, after which the following was found pasted on the door: The large room was originally built no accommodate the "Lion" Lodge of Freemasons in 1813, but they only occupied it for two years before transferring to the Angel Inn. The builder, and owner, of the tavern were Matthew Creaser, the guard of the· Whitby and York mail-coach.


A few more yards and we are at the top of the Angel Yard, down which is the Angel Hotel. This was the principal inn of old Whitby, the coaching-house from which the stagecoaches started from their commencement in 1795. The principal coach was the "Whitby Neptune" from Leeds (1832-3),
Making the journey in ten-and a quarter hours, and the Mail (1807-1840) to Leeds, Scarb1orough, etc, each running three Dimes a week, whilst others ran to York, Sunderland, Shields and Stockton. One of the last coaches to run in Yorkshire was the Gainsborough-to-Whitby Mail.


The Angel was a busy centre before the railway knocked all romance out of the King’s highway. It was also the meeting-place of the stalwarts of Whitby in the reign of King George the Third, the venue of dinners and assemblies promoted by the elite of local society. Its Assembly Room was considered the only place for balls and social functions, public or private in the first half of the nineteenth century, and in this room also the Lion Lodge held their meetings from 1815 to 1858, a period of forty-four years. Even when the town possessed a regular bathing establishment or Bath House, an almanac announced that baths could be obtained malt the Angel. It's also on record that a Christmas pie cooked here, in 1860, weighed no less than twelve stones.


As we approach the end of Baxtergate we have, on the right, the new turning of the bypass road round the end of the Midland Bank via the Old Harbour slide. The bank and nearby shops stand on the site of the old Temperance Hall (1840) and next to it, on the east, stood an old chapel-of-ease dedicated to St. Ninian, which was the forerunner of the present one already noticed. This chapel was here before the year 1396, and was a Bridge Chapel, standing at the head of the first wooden bridge, which took off from about here.


Locally it was known as the Chalice House, and services were held in it until the building of its namesake. Then, for many years, the old building was used as a wine merchant’s establishment, and as such remained until demolition in 1927.


There was a narrow opening between the chapel and the adjoining building, known as Colliers Ghaut, but its original name was Horse Mill Gihaut, and it was known as such in 1595. Leaving old St. Ninian’s we find ourselves in the Old Market Place.

 

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