Whitby Abbey is a ruined Benedictine abbey sited on the East Cliff, 199 steps above Whitby harbour in North Yorkshire on the north east coast of England. It was founded in 657 AD by the Saxon King of Northumbria.
In 867, the abbey fell to Viking attack, and was abandoned until 1078, when it was re-founded by a soldier monk, under the orders of his protector, the Norman, William de Percy. The second monastery lasted until it was destroyed by Henry VIII in 1540. The abbey buildings fell into ruins, and were mined for stone, but remained a prominent landmark for sailors and helped inspire Bram Stoker's Dracula. The ruins are now owned and maintained by English Heritage.
From 1890 to 1896, Whitby was the home of Bram Stoker, who set an important scene in Dracula (1897) at the nearby St Mary's church:
For a moment or two I could see nothing, as the shadow of a cloud obscured St. Mary's Church. Then as the cloud passed I could see the ruins of the Abbey coming into view; and as the edge of a narrow band of light as sharp as a sword-cut moved along, the church and churchyard became gradually visible... It seemed to me as though something dark stood behind the seat where the white figure shone, and bent over it. What it was, whether man or beast, I could not tell.