Whitby Galleries was founded in 1993. The original gallery is now our originals gallery and is named the Penny Hedge Gallery. Some years later they purchased the property next door and opened this as a prints gallery. This gallery is called The Hermitage. Together we are known as Whitby Galleries but both shops have their names on plaques outside the front doors with an explanation as to whether original art or prints are sold.
The names of the two galleries are closely linked with well known Whitby folklore:
The legend dates back to 1159 when a penance was imposed on three hunters, and their descendants for all time, for murdering a hermit at Eskdale.
The hunters had been following a wild boar that took refuge in a hermitage. The monk that lived in the hermitage barred entry to the hunters' hounds and the nobles attacked him. Before he died the monk agreed to forgive them and spare their lives if they and their descendants would enact a penance. So each year, on the eve of Ascension Day, a short hedge of hazel and willow stakes are woven together and must withstand three tides. A knife "of a penny price" was to be used to cut the stakes and that is where our names come from. This practice continues to this day.You can see the penny hedge planted on the bank of the estuary on the east side of the town, close to Parkol boat yard.