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Walking Tours, Church Crawls, Digressions . . .

Jeremy Purseglove - A Springtime Saunter 2014

A Springtime Saunter: A nature walk with ecologist Jeremy Purseglove

A springtime ramble from Shandy Hall while learning about local flora and fauna.

Jeremy Purseglove, a nature conservationist, ecologist and landscape architect has spent his life working all over the world to achieve some damage limitation to development and civil engineering projects.


Phil Thomas - An afternoon of 'church-crawling' in York 2014

An afternoon of ‘church-crawling’ was enjoyed as historian Phil Thomas explores the art, architecture and history of York’s city-centre churches.

Phil Thomas

An afternoon of ‘church-crawling’ was enjoyed as historian Phil Thomas explored the art, architecture and history of York’s city-centre churches.

1.00pm – 4.30pm meet at St Martin Coney Street, York

Tickets £6.00 (including tea and biscuits)

Phil Thomas has been a composer, performer, lecturer and music educationalist and has worked for many theatre and opera companies, orchestras and venues. He has written and lectured widely on architecture and design subjects (especially of the 19th and 20th centuries), served on numerous conservation committees and building preservation trusts, is a Liveryman of the Glaziers’ Company, an Honorary Life Member of the RSAW and a trustee of the Ancient Monuments Society.

Since 2001 he has been Church Buildings Officer and DAC Secretary for the Diocese of York, helping with conservation and development of over 600 important churches and their contents.

Part of the ‘Reading the Past – Writing the Future’ project devised by The Laurence Sterne Trust, which aims to encourage people to visit their local church and to stimulate creative work inspired by the stories that can be found there.

The project was supported by Arts Council England which recognises the value of a church as art gallery, museum and source of culture and local history at the centre of every parish. Be it church, mosque or synagogue, places of worship contain art, craftsmanship, architecture, and social history.

Digressions - Ian Duhig and Philippa Troutman 2013-14


Digressions - Troutman

A site-specific art and poetry project based around Shandy Hall where Laurence Sterne wrote The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman.  The project began in 2013 (the tercentenary of Sterne’s birth) and finished in autumn 2014 with the publication of a book of artwork, poetry and prose also called Digressions.  The book was launched with an exhibition at the Poetry Society, London on 18 September 2014. The exhibition transferred to Shandy Hall in Coxwold for an opening on 11 October 2014.

Using Tristram Shandy as a starting point, Digressions takes in the topography, history and traditions of where the novel was written through wandering but site-specific engagements by artist, Philippa Troutman and writer, Ian Duhig.

Mazes, meteors and medieval shapeshifter ghost stories informed their work against a background of shifting religion, politics, science and art from the world’s first marbling techniques of Suminagashi through dada to contemporary art practitioners. Digressions‘ poetry draws on ballad traditions as well as modern conceptual writing – for which Shandy Hall is a recognised international centre – while a long prose ‘Afterforeword’ described the project’s procedures and discoveries in greater detail and can be read in full on Philippa Troutman’s website.

Digressions was supported by Arts Council England.

Jonathan Meades - 'Museum Without Walls' - Annual Sterne Lecture 2012

Jonathan Meades reclining
Jonathan Meades reclining

Book launch with Jonathan Meades at Shandy Hall, and walking tour of Coxwold

29 September 2012 – 11.00am

Jonathan Meades is an English original. He has spent thirty years constructing sixty films, two novels and hundreds of pieces of journalism that dissolve the barriers between high and low culture, good and bad taste, deep seriousness and knockabout comedy. His vision is as sharp and unmistakable as his image: tinted glasses, sharp suit, deadpan delivery. He peddles, as he calls it, heavy entertainment, which means he has strong opinions about almost everything. What sets Meades apart from most of the media commentariat is that his views are backed up by an astonishing depth of knowledge. Maybe because he taught himself (he went to RADA not university), his scholarship has sharpened his originality rather than blunting it. To watch or read Meades riffing on places, buildings, food, politics, or cultural history is a workout for the mind and eye. He leaves you better informed, more alert, less gullible. And don’t just take our word for it:

One of the funniest and truest writers we have. No one understands England better than Meades. STEPHEN FRY

Jonathan Meades has been compared favourably to Rabelais and flatteringly to Swift. The truth is that he outstrips both in the gaudiness of his imagination. HENRY HITCHINGS


information as material - DO OR DIY - 2012

Do or DIY
Do or DIY

The exhibition Do or DIY intervened in the beautiful gardens at Shandy Hall.

It is Sterne’s self-publishing of his most famous work, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, which inspires information as material’s miniature history.

Texts on display throughout the gardens offered an introduction to the concealed history of do-it-yourself publishing, as undertaken by some of the most revered writers of the modern Western canon.

Humorous anecdotal quotations about DIY literary stars were scattered round the garden, sticking out of the grass lawn at acute angles like a set of papers that have blown away in the breeze.

Remember the lessons of literary history. Don’t wait for others to validate your ideas. Do it yourself.

DO or DIY was launched as a gallery installation at the Whitechapel Gallery, London in March 2012.

This exhibition was part of Art in Yorkshire.

information as material was established by the artist Simon Morris in 2002. Based in York, iam operates as an independent imprint that publishes work by artists who use extant material – selecting it and reframing it to generate new meanings – and who, in doing so, disrupt the existing order of things.

The imprint’s activities involve publishing, exhibiting, curating, web-based projects, and invited lectures. iam’s editorial team is Craig Dworkin, Simon Morris, Nick Thurston and Simon Zimmerman.


Ronald Blythe - Sermon for Rogationtide preached in Coxwold church - 2009

Ronald Blythe at Shandy Hall
Ronald Blythe at Shandy Hall

Ronald Blythe was a welcome guest at Shandy Hall and preached his sermon on ‘The Walking Christ’ for Rogation Sunday at Coxwold Church. This is traditionally the day when parishioners walk the boundaries of their parish and pray for its protection.


A Springtime Saunter around Shandyland - first day of spring 2004

An Open Garden Day, with a treasure trail, new work by Peter Coates, hot soup, bread and wine.


Gif of Tom Gauld Endless Journey by Brighten the Corners