John Hall Stevenson

Born: He was born John Hall in 1718 at Skelton Castle, the home of his uncle, Lawrence Trotter. He was the eldest son of Joseph Hall, a lawyer and Catherine Trotter. His father was a lawyer.

Educated: John Hall attended Jesus College, Cambridge. He left without taking a degree and went on the Grand Tour in Europe.

Married: On 7th February 1740 John Hall married Anne Stevenson, daughter of Ambrose Stevenson of Lanchester and Ann Wharton. John Hall assumed his wife’s surname and became known as John Hall Stevenson. 

Family: John and Ann Hall Stevenson had two sons: John and Joseph.

Home: Joseph Hall bought Skelton Castle from Lawson Trotter and his son spent the rest of his life there.

Known for: John Hall Stevenson is probably best known for his long friendship with Laurence Sterne, the author of “Tristram Shandy”. One of the characters in “Tristram Shandy” is said to be based on Stevenson. Stevenson was an author himself, his most famous work being “Crazy Tales” (1762). He achieved notoriety with his “demoniacs” club that met in Skelton Castle. 

Died: John Hall Stevenson died on 25th March 1785 at Skelton.

Further Information: “The Life and Letters of Laurence Sterne” (2 volumes) Lewis Melville (1912)

Dictionary of National Biography