York Civic Trust will be unveiling a Blue Plaque to celebrate Laurence Sterne (1713– 1768). Sterne was an Irish-born author and Anglican clergyman with strong connections to York and the Yorkshire region. Descendant of an Archbishop of York, Sterne was the author of “The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman” and “A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy”. He died of tuberculosis at 55 years of age.
Born in Ireland and living in both Ireland and Yorkshire, the Cambridge graduate worked in the Church for many years before dedicating himself to writing. Sterne was a prebentary of York Minster Sterne’s dabble in political journalism by supporting Sir Robert Walpole, who is widely regarded as the first Prime Minister of Britain. His novels were popular across Europe.
Blue Plaques memorialise the connection between the building or location and a famous person or event. England Heritage started installing Blue Plaques which generally referred to places in the Greater London area, but many similar schemes now exist which also install similar Blue Plaques. The original programme is thought to have begun in 1866. The York Civic Trust installs plaques commemorating both influential people and places, and does so using funds provided by donations.
The Plaque will be unveiled on 5 November at 11.00 at 35 Stonegate, close to the Evil Eye bar. Laurence Sterne already has a Blue Plaque dedicated to him in Coxwold where he was a vicar for many years. This Plaque is on the wall of Shandy Hall, where he lived.