George Young

Rev George Young (1777 - 1848) St Hilda's Terrace

Born 25 July 1777 to John and Jean Young, a modest and pious couple, in a farmhouse named Coxiedean in the parish of Kirk-Newton and East Calder, Scotland. He was the fourth child in a brood of ten and was born without his left hand. Unable to follow on the family business of farming, his parents encouraged him to enter into education.

He regarded his disability in a very positive light and over the years he learned to perform everyday tasks without any difficulty. At age 14 he was deeply affected by the death of his sister, an experience that influenced his choice of a life of religion. Young spent four years at the University of Edinburgh studying literature and philosophy and a further five years studying theology as required by the Presbyterian Church he wished to enter. He was licensed to preach the gospel in March 1801.

George Young

Following a visit to Whitby in summer 1805, Young entered a ministry at the Cliff Street Chapel in January 1806 and remained there until his death forty-two years later. He was a man of spiritual generosity and was very involved with his parish taking his contemporaries to the homes of the poor and afflicted as well as the more wealthy members of the community.

Young had a wide range of interests reflected in the literary works he published. He wrote books about botany, the history of Whitby, geology, and Captain Cook. He also edited the Whitby Panorama. In 1817 he published a two volume, History of Whitby and Streoneshalh Abbey. With the help of his artist friend, John Bird, then a teacher of drawing in Whitby, he published a, Geological Survey of the Yorkshire Coast. Young published a smaller volume of history in 1824, A picture of Whitby and its environs. The new discoveries in geology prompted Young to write, Scriptural Geology in 1838 in which he attempted to reconcile geology and the teachings of the Bible.

History of Whitby and Streoneshalh Abbey published 1817

As well as his published works Young was instrumental in establishing the Whitby Botanic Garden (1812) and the Whitby Literary and Philosophical Society (1823). He became one of the two secretaries of the Society and remained so until his death in 1848.

Rev. George Young died 8 May, 1848 following a bout of influenza. He was buried in St. Mary’s Churchyard, the ceremony was performed by his friend Dr William Scoresby junior who said that a grief felt so deeply showed that Whitby had lost a great benefactor.

Source: Whitby Museum