19 JANUARY 2002, Page 26

Naffness at the Abbey

From Audrey Butler

Sir: Jessica Douglas-Home (Tangs, but no thanks', 12 January) doesn't need to go to Romania to see an example of 'Dracula vandalisation'. Very soon she will be able to come to Whitby in North Yorkshire and visit the abbey ruins, with associations with such world-famous figures as St Hilda and Caedmon, and wander round with the sounds of the Dracula legend resounding in her ears, to be declaimed, apparently, by a resident black-garbed figure presumably supposed to be Bram Stoker — all courtesy of English Heritage, owners of the site and apparently ignorant of the fact that the Stoker stories do not involve the abbey. At least the Romanians have the excuse of being desperate for foreign-currency visitors. Whitby Abbey does not need to dumb down like this, and English Heritage should be ashamed of itself.

Audrey Butler

Lockton, North Yorkshire