Local history group to hear talk on Demoniacs

Middleham and the Dales Local History Group will hear a talk entitled, The Demoniacs – a Northern Hellfire Club, next month.

It will be given by Dr Tony Nicholson a social and cultural historian who spends much of his retirement researching, writing, and giving talks.

He has spoken to the group on several occasions, most notably about the horde of Victorian photographs and letters he found in his attic.

He lives in an old Georgian house in Brotton, near Saltburn-by-sea, and was previously a principal lecturer at Teesside University, as well as being a National Teaching Fellow.

His talk opens with Laurence Sterne’s extraordinary novel, Tristram Shandy, one of the Guardian’s 100 Greatest Novels of All Time.

Sterne was a member of the Demoniacs, a group of 18th century rakes who met at Skelton Castle — ‘Crazy Castle’ as they delighted in calling it — where his good friend, John Hall Stevenson, was master of ceremonies. Here, they pursued their passions.

“When a man gives himself up to the government of a ruling passion,” Sterne warned at the start of Tristram Shandy, “or, in other words, when his Hobby-Horse grows headstrong, farewell cool reason and fair discretion”.

The talk will take place at Harmby Village Hall at 2pm.

Members, new members and visitors are always welcome, annual membership is £12 for 9 meetings and visitors can attend for £3 per meeting.

or more information contact Tony Keates 01969 640436, dotandtonyk@btinternet.com