A right rowelly day at Sandsend. A great day for a walk on the beach. Down the coast, Whitby Abbey stands grandly on the cliffs veiled by the spray kicked up by the tummelly sea. Founded by Hild, the daughter of a Deiran prince, in the late 650s, the Abbey is most famous for the Synod of Whitby in 664 when Oswiu, King of Northumbria, ruled that his kingdom would follow the customs of the Roman Christian church rather than the Irish one practised at Iona. The main difference was in the way of calculating Easter. King Oswiu favoured the Irish tradition while his Queen, Eanflæd, followed the Roman way. Bede, half a century later, wrote, that in 665 “Easter was kept twice in one year, so that when the King had ended Lent and was keeping Easter, the Queen and her attendants were still fasting and keeping Palm Sunday.“ I read somewhere, somewhat cynically, that the King was persuaded follow the Roman way when it was pointed out to him this would have meant the extension of the abstinence of his conjugal rights. I don’t know if there is any truth in that but it would make a good scene in a film.
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