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Whitby Donkey Field Survey

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Following the irreparable damage to the ancient site, local man Tom Brown has taken on the responsibility of applying for TOWN GREEN status to protect the famous DONKEY FIELD from any future development.

Prior to making the application he is conducting a small survey and would like to enlist the help and support of Real Whitby readers.

Please could you take a few minutes from your busy schedules to download and complete the linked form if you are interested in helping. Thank you.

Donkey Field Survey – Click Here

Donkey Field Gallery

Posted by on October 31, 2011. Filed under Campaigns,Featured,News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

17 Responses to Whitby Donkey Field Survey

  1. Nigel Ward Reply

    February 18, 2011 at 9:40 am

    There is a long and disgraceful story behind this. The Donkey Field was ravaged by bulldozers, even though it is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. SBC, NYCC, Yorkshire Water, Duffy’s, English Heritage and the Strickland estate (the owners) have all put up a tremendous smoke-screen to hide collective corporate incompetence.

    No work should have been started without an archaeological survey, yet SBC’s Borough Engineer John Woodhead told me, in an email of 27th October that “all the necessary consents are in place”. BOVINE EXCREMENT! No consents were in place.

    Of course NOBODY will ever be held ACCOUNTABLE. They think.

    I’m working on that. More to follow . . .

  2. Glenn Kilpatrick Reply

    February 18, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Hi Nigel,

    We discussed my theory last time we met. I believe that they thought they could get away with digging up the land without anyone noticing what was happening. Therefore they never gave a second thought to the damage they were about to do. I am very surprised that they have been allowed to get away with digging in the area. Who knows what is under there, and they should have spoke to archaeologists etc before even thinking of digging it up. I used to live in the last cottage of White Horse Yard which is directly below and I was told that the area was where they used to dump unwanted items from the Abbey. There certainly was a lot of old bottles etc in the ground around the cottages.

  3. Nigel Ward Reply

    February 18, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    SBC’s Pauline Elliott has confirmed, in a letter to Whitby Town (Parish) Council that the Donkey Field is a Scheduled Ancient Monument – as is all the land immediately adjoining Whitby Abbey. (Mind you, she also confirmed that the Donkey Field is owned by Scarborough Borough Council – which it is not. It is owned by the Strickland Constable Estate).

    See aerial photograph here:

    The Department of Culture, Media & Sport states, on its web-site that:

    “It is a criminal offence to undertake works affecting a scheduled monument without written consent from the Secretary of State.”

    Question: Will there be a prosecution when I complete my investigation into who was at fault when the Donkey Field was bull-dozed last October?

    Don’t hold your breath.

    NYCC, SBC, Yorkshire Water, Duffy’s, the Strickland Constable Estate and English Heritage will keep playing ‘pass the parcel’ until everyone has forgotten all about it. If we let them.

  4. The Man In The White Suit Reply

    February 19, 2011 at 7:14 am

    The area is where people who committed suicide used to be buried, in the ” old days” .

  5. angela Reply

    February 19, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Hmmm…TMITWS..I would like to see evidence of that….

  6. angela Reply

    February 19, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Looking back at my notes I made for my Theology course at University (in which i studied and wrote an essay on St Hilda and Whitby Abbey, I can find no evidence for burials in the area I believe you are talking about.
    Excavations were made in the 20′s, 50′s and more recently 1999(link below) there were no burials found there. Burials and buildings were found to the North (possibly once being part of the church area/royal burials?) and In 1999 the cemetery was discovered and fully recorded to the SE, which contained zones and burials of different ages, but the western edge of this seems well established.
    The problem with the Abbey area and era, is that of building and rebuilding from different periods,often building on top of sites of other buildings making it harder to date sites, the re-use of materials and moving of bodies/relics!

    On the subject of suicide burials, history records that executed criminals and suicides were buried seperate from others,yes, but even after the start of Christianity, they were buried at cross roads surrounded by superstition (crosses,vampires/the undead) often at night. I dont think the donkey field area has a cross roads on it?
    Without proof I think it would be hard to support your theory. But I think we are getting used to your sensationalist statements! lol

    Nigel: This link may be of use to you as it shows the boundary of the scheduled area if you click on the map with the word Whitby on it:

  7. The Man In The White Suit Reply

    February 19, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    They didn’t dig deep enough!

  8. angela Reply

    February 19, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    You’d know about digging too deep… :-)

  9. Nigel Ward Reply

    February 22, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Thanks to those who turned out for the Gazette crew at the Donkey Field today – at very short notice and at a difficult time of day. As everyone knows, the Donkey Field belongs to the Strickland Estate. I was particularly pleased to see the workmen re-instating the style, thus confirming that the DF has been traditionally open to the public. It was fascinating to hear of the many and varied activities that people have enjoyed there over more than fifty years. Sad, though, to see that only Cllr Steve Smith and Cllr Dennis Collins from WTC could put in an appearance. SBC Cllr Mike Ward had a good excuse – he was at the dentist’s!

    Here’s the link for Tom Brown’s ‘Town Green Status’ application. Please print, complete and return to Tom, myself or the gazette office. Thanks all.

  10. Nigel Ward Reply

    March 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    —– Original Message —–
    To: Nigel
    Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2011 11:44 AM
    Subject: Re: Donkey Field – Whitby

    Hi Nigel,

    Thanks for your email – our position is that we are supportive of any
    initiative that is deemed by the majority of local residents as one which
    will benefit Whitby, the people who live there, and the thousands of
    visitors who visit the town each year.


    Matt Thompson
    Campaigns & Media Relations Advisor

  11. admin Reply

    October 31, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Over 100 hits to this page today. Can any of you viewers share with us why there is interest in this article today ?

  12. Nigel Ward Reply

    March 18, 2012 at 6:39 pm

  13. haly* Reply

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  14. Tom Brown Reply

    April 26, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Now the 26th April 2012 and still no more news obout the ‘Donkey Field’ status

  15. Nigel Ward Reply

    August 23, 2012 at 11:43 am


    Village Green status has been granted. Full story here:

    Congratz to Tom Brown!

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