The Whitby Gazette is running a delightful story, as they often do : - ) http://www.whitbygazette.co.uk/news/local/history-made-as-whitby-celebra...
"Dozens of people gathered in the early morning sunshine along Church Street to witness the event which dates back to 1159 and sees a small fence erected out of hazel sticks by way of a penance for a sin committed by a trio of Whitby noblemen.
Once the Penny Hedge has been constructed, an 800-year old horn is sounded before Lol Hodgson, the bailiff of the Manor of Fyling, shouts “out on ye” three times."
"The story behind the custom surrounds three noblemen who were hunting a wild boar, when it was reputed to have sought refuge in a chapel in Eskdaleside.
The hunters were denied access to the building by a hermit and in a fit of rage they rode him down with spears, mortally wounding him.
On his death bed, the hermit informed those responsible for his wounding that both they and their ancestors were to build a hedge capable of withstanding three tides as penance, or face the forfeiture of their lands."
And, of course, the best bit .... "Moira Clarke is believed to be the first woman ever to take part in the centuries-old ceremony, after she was plucked from the watching crowd and asked to do the honours when one of the usual participants failed to show."
Hmmm ... how timely and ab fabulous ...