Sterneana | Sterne in Coxwold

This entry was posted on 5th April 2012

Letter – 7 February 1762.


The Right Honble the Earl Fauconberg


Date-stamped 10 February; place stamp EASING / WOULD

Almost complete red wax seal

Newborough 7th Feb. 1762

I am Extreamly Sorry to See in the Newspaper the Death of Poor Mr Sterne, and if true, I heartily wish, and it wou’d also give great Content to the whole Parrish, if your Ld:ship wou’d be pleased to Appoint the Revd: Mr Newton (who you Nominated to the School at Coxwold and Curacy of Husthwait) to Succeed Mr Sterne, who I think a very proper Person, and was your Ldship acquainted with him, I am almost Certain you wou’d think him worthy of Coxwold Curacy, he’s a very good Man and gains ground every Day in the Parrish, he is Extreamly well liked in the Parrish of Husthwait and Carlton, as also at Coxwold, for his good behaviour the time he’s been there, in Short every one that knows him Speaks well of him, as being an Affable good Natured Modest Man —- and I dar Say every person in this Parrish will give their Voice for him to Succeed Mr Sterne, if agreable to your Lordship, he shou’d be appointed I am almost Certain you wou’d not repent, and what I have Said your Lordship may Depend on as Fact; Mr Newton does not know as yet that Mr Sterne is Dead, nor of my Writing this to your Lordship, but as Soon as he hears I am very Sure hel make Application to your Lordship for the Same, I am

My Lord

Your Lordships Most Dutifull

And Obdtt Hble Servant

Richd: Chapman

Death of poor Mr Sterne: rumours of Sterne’s death circulated widely at this time and were reported in the London papers. Hack writers, such as the author of A funeral discourse, occasioned by the much lamented death of Mr. Yorick, Perbendary of Y—k and author of the much admired Life and opinions of Tristram Shandy, seized on this opportunity. The advertisement in this particular pamphlet played on the uncertainty surrounding the reports. Lord Fauconberg also received a letter dated 13 February 1762 from a William Gibson of Tattershall, requesting the nomination to what he believed to be a vacancy. Gibson is not recorded in the Church of England database of clergy, but may have been a curate at Holy Trinity, Tattershall, Lincolnshire.

Mr Newton: Thomas Newton, born at Bampton in Westmoreland, was admitted as a sizar to St John’s College, Cambridge, where he took his B.A. in 1757, and was ordained by Edmund Keene, bishop of Chester, on 2 July 1758. His first church appointment was as curate of Goldsborough in the West Riding of Yorkshire, 3 July 1758. He then became curate of Husthwaite with Carlton on 22 August 1761 and eventually gave this up to succeed Sterne in the living of Coxwold from 18 April 1768. In the Visitation Return to the Archbishop of York in the summer of 1764 Sterne noted: ‘There is a publick School endowed by Sir John Hart – The Masters name is Newton. The Scholars are only taught the Latin and greek tongues—there is a Charity School also, endowed by the same person for the Instruction of the parishioners Children in reading English.—all proper care is taken of them.’ In the Visitation Return of 1743, one of Sterne’s predecessors, Henry Thomson, noted that there were ‘about fifty’ children in each of the schools. According to the Cambridge University records, Newton was, presumably before taking up his post in Coxwold, the assistant master at Knaresborough Grammar School.