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A brief history of the gardens

The house now known as Shandy Hall dates from around 1430 and would certainly have had a garden to supply the inhabitants with herbs and vegetables.  The house has been lived in continuously for nearly 600 years by various families who have changed and developed the shape and character of the gardens.

The house became a parsonage in the early eighteenth century. Laurence Sterne came to live at Shandy Hall when he was appointed Perpetual Curate in 1760. Between his clerical duties and his writing he would also work in the garden. While he was vicar in Sutton-on-the-Forest, Sterne had written about planting peaches and nectarines there. However, he does not say if he was successful!

If you honour me with a letter it will find me either pruneing, or digging or trenching, or weeding or hacking up old roots or wheeling away Rubbish

– Laurence Sterne, writing from Coxwold 9 September 1760

In the later 19th century the house was divided into two dwellings and the west part of the garden was also divided in two. The east end became a farmhouse, complete with stackyard and animal sheds.

Shandy Hall aerial view late 1940s

Shandy Hall aerial view late 1940s

The Laurence Sterne Trust was established in 1964 to make Shandy Hall a public museum.  Kenneth and Julia Monkman took up residence and while Kenneth devoted himself to his collection and the study of Sterne, Julia set about creating a garden with over 100 roses and unusual perennials that became an attraction in its own right.

In the 1990s the adjoining disused quarry was incorporated as a wild garden, adding a further acre to the grounds.

Shandy Hall Wild Garden May pheasant

Shandy Hall Wild Garden, May