Grotere kaart weergeven
In 1845 Charlotte Brontë stayed at Hathersage vicarage with her friend Ellen Nussey and regularly visited the locally important Eyre family at North Lees Hall. Charlotte’s letters reveal Hathersage as the village Morton in Jane Eyre (published 1847). The landlord of the George Inn was a Mr Morton at the time Brontë stayed here and she borrowed the Eyre family name for her heroine. There’s a reference in the novel to ‘Mr Oliver’s needle factory’ in Morton, and there were several needle mills in Hathersage then.
The novel’s crenellated Thornfield is clearly based on North Lees Hall. Robert Eyre is said to have built seven houses for seven sons and you can still see North Lees, an impressive Tudor manor just a short pleasant walk from the village. It is rumoured there was indeed a ‘mad woman in the attic’ in its early history, just like Bertha Mason in Brontë’s novel. Agnes Ashurst was ‘reputed to have become demented and was confined to a room on the second floor where the walls were padded for her safety’. She later died in a fire.
‘Ladies, keep off, or I shall wax dangerous.’
And dangerous he looked: his black eyes darted sparks.