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199 Steps Coffin Benches

Thousands of people climb up the 199 steps leading to St. Mary’s Church. Fortunately for these visitors, benches dot the stairway, providing perfect places for weary walkers to rest their legs and soak in the picture-perfect views of Whitby’s harbor.

What many tourists don’t realize is that the platforms they sit on weren’t intended to hold the living. Pallbearers, when they needed a break while carting the dead to the church cemetery, would place coffins on the planks.

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