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Thursday, 8 August 2013

It's an open and shut case as new Shandy Hall gate comes into line

A new gate at Coxwold's Shandy Hall in the North York Moors National Park is more than just an opening to an historic hall and gardens.

Trainee Blacksmiths Fred Suffield (left) and Adam Baillie from Chris Topp
 and Co admire their handiwork at Shandy Hall.
The gate’s design is a playful nod to Laurence Sterne, the 18th century writer who lived there, and to his masterwork, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1759-68).

The historic house is now the home of The Laurence Sterne Trust and the gate features one of the lines from Sterne’s famous novel.

The line is a graphic depiction of the twists and turns of the novel’s plot with all of its digressions, wrong turns, and false starts that Sterne includes in the book to test whether his reader has been following the story.

“Fans of Tristram Shandy should be able to spot a novel element in the gate's design,” said curator Patrick Wildgust.

The new gate was commissioned following an award from the North York Moors Leader small scale enhancements scheme.

It marks a new beginning for the historic Hall. This is the first time that the Grade One listed building has had a gate since the last one was removed in 2000.

Fifteenth-century Shandy Hall is one of the first historic sites to greet visitors on their approach to the North York Moors.

The gate design is the creation of nationally and internationally-known Chris Topp, artist blacksmith and architectural metalworker.

Chris, who is based at Tholthorpe near York, and is renowned for his high quality work at such historic buildings as Hampton Court, Buckingham Palace, St Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament, has designed and manufactured the gate to complement the existing palings and rails while creating a new feature which adds another layer of history at the site.

Shandy Hall is now staging the Good Humour Club exhibition which is inspired by a recent discovery in The Laurence Sterne Trust’s collection – the minute book of a hitherto unknown society that existed in York in the 18th century. The exhibition showcases the research of the Trust’s team of local volunteers into the Club’s members and its history.

Shandy Hall is open to visitors from 1 May to 30 September on Wednesdays from 2pm - 4.30pm and Sundays from 2.30pm - 4.30pm. Private tours available on request. The gardens are open from 1 May to 30 September from 11.00am - 4.30pm every day (except Saturdays).

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