Our latest blue plaque unveiling was held at More House in Heslington on Wednesday, 10 April 2019. The plaque celebrates the Revd. Sydney Smith (1771-1845), who lived in the property from 1808 to 1814 when it was a vicarage.
Sydney Smith was an English writer (regarded in his day as a wit and satirist), social and religious reformer, and Anglican cleric. He campaigned against slavery and championed Catholic Emancipation to allow British Catholics to take up public office for the first time since the C17.
The plaque unveiling commenced with prayers by Father Kevin Melody, the University of York’s Roman Catholic Chaplain at More House, and Revd. Johannes Nobel, from St Paul’s Church, Heslington. Professor Graham Parry, a specialist in C17 antiquarian studies and ecclesiastical history at the University of York, then gave a eulogy, before Father Melody unveiled the plaque.
Graham Frater, who has written a fascinating account of Sydney Smith’s life for the Trust, concluded the ceremony by presenting a copy of of Sydney Smith’s ‘Peter Plymley Letters’ on behalf of YCT to Father Melody and the Chaplaincy. This satirical set of pamphlets caused a sensation in the C19, and paved the way for equal rights in Britain for Catholics.