Shandy Hall

WhereShandy Hall, CoxwoldType of EventEscorted Site Visit
WhenWednesday 23rd June TutorPatrick Wildgust

On Wednesday 23rd June, 21 members of the group travelled to Coxwold for lunch at the Old School House Tea Rooms and then wandered through the village to the Church where they were met by Patrick Wildgust, the charismatic curator of Shandy Hall. He led a tour around the imposing 15th century Church of St Michael with its unusual octagonal tower and told us about the Belasyse (or Belasye) and Wombwell families who had large and ornate family tombs in the chancel with life-size sculptures in wood and marble. He then brought us forward to the 18th century when Laurence Sterne was vicar of Coxwold and Patrick gradually morphed into Sterne before our eyes, declaiming some of Sterne’s sermons from the pulpit. 

After the church, we moved on to Shandy Hall and Patrick again brought Sterne to life in the 15th century house he occupied from 1760 until his death in 1768 and where he wrote “The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy” and “A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy”. The visit ended with a wander round the formal garden, with its views towards Byland Abbey, and then around the peaceful haven of the wild garden where all sense of time and the outside world was lost.

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