SHERLOCK Holmes is rightly regarded as one of the greatest detectives in literature; but an enduring mystery worthy of the man himself is how Arthur Conan Doyle arrived at his character’s memorable name.

One man who thinks he has the answer is Ingleton gift shop owner Martyn Sutton.

He has carried out his own detective quest after learning of Conan Doyle’s links with the Dales.

Martyn believes he has pieced together evidence that the name Sherlock Holmes was influenced by Conan Doyle’s visits to his mother Mary Doyle who lived for 34 years at Masongill near Ingleton.

Two years after her arrival – on August 6, 1885 – Dr Arthur Conan Doyle married Louise Hawkins in St Oswald’s, which is Masongill’s local church.

Martyn, who moved to Ingleton in 2013, became fascinated by this and said he could not understand why no more had been made of the Conan Doyle connection with the area, especially as it could help boost tourism.

He began his own search for clues about Conan-Doyle’s association with the Dales and discovered in the same year he was married, the author had set a short story in Ingleton – Uncle Jeremy’s Household – published in The Boy’s Own Paper. This was before Sherlock Holmes appeared, but the tale gave a strong hint of what was to come from Conan Doyle’s pen.

Martyn believes this means Ingleton could still lay claim to being ‘the birthplace of Sherlock Holmes’ thanks to the characters of Hugh Lawrence and John Thurston in Uncle Jeremy’s Household, who have similar traits to Holmes and Watson.

“This is clearly the prototype for the stories that followed,” said Martyn.

He said it was possible the name Sherlock Holmes was actually inspired by Ingleton.

“We know that Arthur's visits to his mother would have involved him arriving at Ingleton Railway Station by train and continuing his onward journey by pony drawn dog cart," said Martyn. "At that time the area under the viaduct was known as The Holmes.

"Another piece of evidence is the Sherlock Window in the tower of St Mary's Parish Church in Ingleton. It is dedicated to the memory of the wealthy Liverpool newspaper proprietor, Randal Hopley Sherlock, who had been struck and killed by lightning at Ingleton Railway Station in 1875 while visiting his son Thomas, the vicar of St Mary’s.”

Martyn now believes the area should make more of the Conan Doyle link.

He said: "I’ve seen nothing in the Ingleton area to celebrate any connection with the author of the world’s most famous fictional detective."

Martyn said he was determined to play his part in raising awareness of the area’s connection with Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes by writing a full-length book about the subject.