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Book goes behind the scenes of Dales estate

[Tuesday 21 August 2007]
john sheard at bolton abbey
John Sheard at Bolton Abbey

A DALES man has written and published a rare "behind the scenes" look at one of Yorkshire's largest and most famous estates.

John Sheard, who was the land agent for Bolton Abbey for some 30 years, has produced an informative and detailed study of the estate, which covers 52 sq miles of Wharfedale, including 52 farms and 80 miles of footpaths.

And for the first 12 months after its launch, all of the profits from the new book will be donated to John's old school at Sedbergh in Cumbria.

John, who is also a longstanding member of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), said: "I was lucky enough to have been educated at Sedbergh School for five years and I would very much like to help give other children a similar opportunity through the Sedbergh School Foundation."

Inherited by the Dukes of Devonshire in 1755, the vibrant Bolton Abbey country estate is a leading tourist attraction in one of the most visited parts of Britain - the Yorkshire Dales.

But according to John it has been largely neglected by authors: "Compared to Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, which is the main family seat of the Devonshires, there has been very little written about Bolton Abbey," he said.

"I was particularly keen to write about this estate because it is a marvellous example of how a rural community has met a whole array of challenges during the last 40 years."

Priced at £19.50 in hardback and £14.95 for the paperback version (including post and packing), Bolton Abbey - The Yorkshire Estate of the Dukes of Devonshire, includes a foreword by the Dowager Duchess, Deborah Devonshire.

Copies of the book can be ordered from Drebley Farmhouse, Drebley, Skipton, BD23 6AU. Cheques should be made payable to "J M Sheard Charity Book Account".

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