Mary's Church and the 'South Bay'
Viewed from beside the castle wall, looking in
a south-west direction, this scene shows part of Scarborough's 'South Bay'
with St. Mary's Church on the right. The Grand Hotel (site of Wood's Lodgings)
and Anne's grave are indicated. Although it may be difficult to see in
this photograph, another group of people pay a visit to Anne's grave (stood
just to the right of her gravestone). Just to the left of the Grand Hotel
can be seen the Spa Bridge with the 'Spa' buildings further to the left.
Behind these is 'Oliver's Mount' - this was almost certainly the 'lofty
hill' referred to in Anne's poem 'The Bluebell' (see 'Poems'
section). Below and to the left of the hotel are the South Sands where
Anne took many walks, as does Agnes in Anne's novel - Agnes Grey.
Over on the right, running past the church, is Castle Road: in this photograph
it appears to be ascending as it moves away from the camera, but in reality
it gradually descends into the town centre. At this top end it becomes
quite steep as it inclines up towards the castle entrance (see picture
below), and this upper section was once known as Castle Hill: Anne makes
reference to this 'hill' and the church in Agnes Grey (below).
St. Mary's Church viewed from the opposite direction, with Scarborough's
castle crowning the headland in the background. The sea beyond, and below
the cliff, surrounds the headland, and spans the South Bay - down to the
right. On the left is Castle Road, with the distant 'Castle Hill' rising
towards the castle keep, and beyond - into the grounds of the ancient fortress
(pictured here in 1899).
This scene is clearly portrayed
in Agnes Grey: Edward Weston informs Agnes that he wishes her to
take a walk with him to 'a certain part of
the coast - a bold hill on the land side, and towards the sea a steep precipice,
from the summit of which a glorious view is to be had'.
Agnes later relates her walk through the streets with Edward, and their
reaching 'the quiet outskirts of the town'
(the church and its surroundings were more secluded in the mid-nineteenth
century - and could well have been regarded as existing on 'the quiet outskirts
of the town'); she continues:
| '. . . as we came in sight of the venerable
old church and the castle
hill, with the deep blue sea beyond it, . . .' 20n
They presently ascend the hill
and make their way to the vantage point from where they look out to sea.
Today, after entering the castle (via the old Castle Hill) and walking
directly across the grounds, one reaches the edge of the cliff, and is
faced with a sheer-drop falling several hundred yards to the rocks and
sea below (also the road which surrounds the headland, though this was
not present in Anne's day); but is also presented with a magnificent view
out to sea. It was here, 'on the edge of the precipice', where Edward Weston
proposed to Agnes. Years later, Agnes recalled:
|'. . . I shall never forget that glorious
summer evening, and always remember with delight that steep hill, and the
edge of the precipice where we stood together, watching the splendid sunset
mirrored in the restless world of waters at our feet - with hearts filled
with gratitude to Heaven, and happiness, and love - almost too full for
. . . Agnes Grey.
Grave (21K) (26K) (22K)
1999 Michael Armitage
June - 99