Friday 13 May 2011

Shandy Hall in Coxwold

Year after year I drive past Shandy Hall and admire the clematis. It grows for ever upwards in an old tree. Looking like a flower variation from Jack and the beanstalk.Lawrence Sterne lived here in the 1700s when he was the Vicar of Coxwold.Between sermons he had time to write such classics as Tristam Shandy,Sentimental Journey and Letter to Eliza. I remember as a child going to visit "Mr Charlie"and his wife-Mr and Mrs Smedley-with my Dad and uncle enjoying hospitality around their kitchen table. They had a big woolly dog and it slept under the table.Little did I know in years to come this homely old farmhouse would be open to the public.The gardens are open too. So I looked over the wall and here you have a glimpse of what you will see if you decide to visit. The Smedleys were a wonderful couple and finally moved into a smaller house further down the village.I have read how Alf Wight-in his capacity as vet ,in the James

Herriots' Yorkshire book also experienced the Smedleys' hospitality -drinking many a cup of tea in the kitchen.People came in and restored the house. Although they got recognition for this, it is the presence and the spirit of the Smedleys that gives the warmth that is felt in Shandy Hall today.