Sleights pensioner pens 16th century tale

Harry Nicholson with his book in his garden in Sleights''w110613   Picture: Ceri Oakes
Harry Nicholson with his book in his garden in Sleights''w110613 Picture: Ceri Oakes

A TALE of daring do in the sixteenth century written by a Sleights resident who was formerly an electronics engineer is up for grabs for three Whitby Gazette readers.

Harry Nicholson (72) took four years to research and write his novel entitled Tom Fleck which is now on sale in local bookshops.

He described it as the life and trials of a penniless farm boy who has many adventures including fighting on the battlefield of Flodden.

Harry said: “It actually took me a year to write but there was a lot of research to do and I also went to the battlefield. “

His hero Tom Fleck is a fictional character but his unusual surname comes from a baptismal entry of 1596 in St Hilda’s Church register in Hartlepool.

The story is set partly in the marsh fields of the area that is now Middlesbrough. The hero meets wandering Jew Rachel Coronel and Tom shares his adventures with a runaway boy from Whitby, Peter Tindall.

It also features an ancient gold torque, found in the Cleveland Hills and a Tudor seal ring.

Harry, who was a radio officer in the Merchant Navy, grew up in Hartlepool. After he left the Merchant Navy he became a television electronics engineer working for ITN, Independent Television Network and Yorkshire Television.

Since he retired he has devoted himself to art, poetry and the teaching of meditation. He also studied creative writing with the Open University.

A reviewer of his book said that it made all the sights and smells of the sixteenth century come alive.

The book, published by YouWriteOn is available from Whitby Bookshop and on-line at Amazon for £7.99.

The Whitby Gazette has three copies of Tom Fleck to give away to readers.

To be in with a chance of winning answer the question below.

What is the name of he runaway boy from Whitby in Harry’s novel?

Email your answer to or you can text to 81800 starting your message with WG COMP or complete the coupon in the Whitby Gazette and send it to Tom Fleck competition, Whitby Gazette, 17-18 Bridge Street, Whitby, North Yorkshire, YO22 4BG.

Closing date for entries is 29 March.