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The village of Hackness is set at the heart of a network of small dales just to the north of the River Derwent and Forge Valley. Most of these dales are very short, and as a result the village gives the impression of being built in a bowl in the hills, but the Whisper Dales run on for nearly three miles to the west and north of the village. Part of the village lies in this dale, part alongside the Derwent.

The village was briefly the site of a nunnery founded by St. Hilda of Whitby in 680 but destroyed by the Danes in 867. One surviving artifact from the nunnery is a stone cross in the church inscribed in runic and Latin and dedicated to Abbess Aethelburga.

Hackness Hall was the home of Lady Margaret Hoby, c.1571-1633, author of the earliest known diary by an Englishwoman. She lived at Hackness with her third husband, the puritan Sir Thomas Posthumous Hoby. Her memorial survives in the church. The current house is a later Georgian building, designed by Carr of York.

The part of the Tabular Hills north of the village and east of the Derwent is sometimes known as the Hackness Hills.


Grid Reference: SE 968 905