Derby

North Lees Hall opens to mark Charlotte Bronte's birth

North Lees Hall
Image caption Charlotte Bronte visited North Lees Hall while staying with her friend Ellen Nussey in nearby Hathersage

A Grade II-listed hall that influenced Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre is opening its doors to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the author's birth.

Bronte paid several visits to North Lees Hall in Derbyshire which provided the inspiration for Thornfield Hall.

Thornfield Hall was the home of the 1847 novel's hero Edward Rochester.

North Lees is now owned by the Peak District National Park Authority, which is holding open events on Saturday and Sunday.

Image caption The building dates back to 1594, but it is believed various families lived in a different building from the 1300s
Image caption The building's battlements feature in Jane Eyre

At the time of Bronte's visits to the Hathersage area, the Eyre family were living at North Lees. They lived there from 1750 until 1882, as well as occupying the hall for two generations during the 15th Century.

In Jane Eyre, the world-renowned author describes the North Lees's battlements, the view from the roof and the apostles' cabinet - a piece of furniture that belonged to the Eyre family.

Bronte later bought the cabinet and moved it to her family home in Haworth, Yorkshire, where it can still be seen.

The hall closed in July after the Vivat Trust, which had managed the building since 1988, stopped trading.

Image caption The Vivat Trust converted the building into self-catering holiday accommodation
Image caption Jane Eyre follows the experiences of its title character and her love for Edward Rochester - the master of Thornfield Hall

Bronte, born on 21 April 1816, was the eldest of the literary Brontes. She wrote three other novels - Shirley, Villette and The Professor.

The open days run from 11:00 to 15:00 BST on both Saturday and Sunday.

Image caption The three principal rooms have Elizabethan features and are linked by a spiral staircase made of elm

North Lees Hall (as featured in Jane Eyre)

"Leaning over the battlements and looking far down, I surveyed the grounds laid out like a map: the bright and velvet lawn closely girdling the grey base of the mansion; the field, wide as a park, dotted with its ancient timber; the wood, dun and sere, divided by a path visibly overgrown, greener with moss than the trees were with foliage."

Image caption The hall is described by Bronte as "three storeys high; a gentleman's manor house"

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites