For sale: a slice of Brontë literary history, as manor house that inspired Wuthering Heights goes on the market

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  • Emily Brontë was a regular visitor to Ponden Hall near Haworth, which is believed to be the inspiration for Thrushcross Grange and the Wuthering Heights farmhouse from her literary masterpiece of the same name

    Oh Heathcliff! Where would we be without Emily Brontë’s dark and brooding saga of ill-fated romance and revenge set amid the rugged landscape of the Yorkshire Moors?

    Well, we certainly wouldn’t have Kate Bush’s haunting lyrics (or the splendid video) inspired by the novel and what a travesty that would be. But, more importantly, Ponden Hall would be just another picturesque manor house in a lovely rural setting.

    And my, it is rather lovely. And now the Grade II-listed home that was the inspiration for Thrushcross Grange or the Wuthering Heights farmhouse itself (depending on who you talk to) is on the market for £950,000.

    As an aspiring novelist, Emily Brontë is thought to have been a regular visitor to Pondon’s extensive library with her brother, Branwell. But Brontë scholars remain split as to which house in the novel it inspired.

    One school of thought insists the house represents the wealthy Linton family’s grand home, Thrushcross Grange, while others (including Emily’s father Reverent Patrick Brontë) claim that Ponden was ‘the original model of Wuthering Heights‘.

    Ardent fans in favour of the latter also point to the fact that the tiny single-paned window in the master bedroom is remarkably like the one that the ghost of Catherine taps on as she tries to get inside during a dream sequence in the book (I do love a good dream sequence).

    But the mystery doesn’t end there: there are a number of other houses in and around Haworth that have also been identified as the possible inspiration behind the book. Ruined farm Top Withens and the now-demolished High Sunderland Hall have both been touted as the houses that put the Wuthering into Heights.

    Meanwhile, Brontë biographer Winifred Gerin added further fuel to the speculative fire by suggesting that Ponden Hall is actually the driving force behind Emily’s sister Anne’s novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

    Either way, it’s fair to say that the manor house figured prominently in the life and times of the Brontë sisters.

    Built in 1634 by the Heaton family, the historic flagstone farmhouse
    has been carefully refurbished by its current owners and now boasts six
    generously sized bedrooms in addition to a two-bedroom self-contained annexe.

    Current owner Julie Akhurst says: ‘Living in this house has given us a unique chance to inhabit a corner of literary history, but, after 15 years, we’re reluctantly moving because of our children’s schooling. It’s time for someone else to enjoy the pleasure and the privilege of owning Ponden Hall.’

    Stewart Charnock-Bates of estate agent Charnock Bates adds: ‘Many people choose to live in the area because of the beautiful scenery that provides inspiration for both writers and artists. Whilst the Brontë association with Haworth remains the area’s greatest connection, the steam railway is equally popular because it is on this very railway line that the famous film The Railway Children was filmed.’

    For more informaiton on Ponden Hall go to Charnock Bates, Halifax

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