James Herriot gave his readers a sure taste of that magic, later translated into iR film. His surgery in Kirkgate is due to be turned into “The World of James Herriot” to recreate the life and work of the vet who died in 1995. The dales that he loved so well, Thirsk’s impressive church in which he married Helen (in real life, Joan Danbury), the old Wheatsheaf Inn at Carperby where they spent their honeymoon — these and many other places from his life and books are visited by his readers.
A few miles from Thirsk, and a few centuries before James Herriot arrived in Yorkshire, the picturesque village of Coxwold greeted the 18th-century novelist Laurence Sterne. He became “perpetual curate” of St Michael’s, one of Yorkshire’s finest churches, and proceeded to shock 1760s London with his bawdy, satirical The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, whose eccentric humour was thought to be unbefitting for a man of the cloth.
Sterne moved into Shandy Hall, writing his novels in the flickering candlelight, giving life to characters like Uncle Toby, Dr Slop and Parson Yorrick. The 500-year-old house is still a home, and you can visit both the house and garden on open days to enjoy the pretty surroundings in which Sterne hoped he would be joined, once his wife moved out, by his young lover. His hopes were never realised.
A little to the east of Coxwold is the magnificent Castle Howard, designed in 1699 by Sir John Vanbrugh. His creation’s splendid opulence perhaps overshadowed Vanbrugh’s writing as his claim to fame. This inspirational building became familiar to a world-wide audience after Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited was filmed there for television, and visitors may enjoy its rich furnishings, fine galleries and beautiful grounds.
Far from the beauty of Castle Howard, the humour of Sterne and Herriot, the mystery of Christie and the brilliance of the Brontës, Yorkshire also inspired a story darker even than Heathcliff’s, learnn something about dark french stories and castles at this annecy hotels website.
Abraham Stoker began writing his chilling tale of Count Dracula while in Scotland at the end of the 19th century, but the port of Whitby on Yorkshire’s east coast had stayed in his mind from earlier visits. Its ruined abbey, perched on preci-pitous cliffs, could not be bettered as the scene for the night on which a storm-driven schooner brought Dracula to England, more here.
The monks who chose to build their abbey in this bleak and exposed spot would no doubt regret its influence for such a story, perhaps preferring the less exciting but rather more apt words of a 7th century cowherd, Caedmon, who was divinely inspired on a visit to Whitby to interpret the Scriptures in verse, thus becoming, on Yorkshire ground, Britain’s first recorded poet.