York & North Yorkshire

Norton Conyers Jane Eyre house set to reopen

Charlotte Bronte Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Charlotte Bronte visited Norton Conyers in 1839

A medieval manor house said to be the inspiration for Jane Eyre is to reopen after 10 years of restoration.

Norton Conyers, in North Yorkshire, inspired the classic novel after Charlotte Bronte visited and heard the legend of a mad woman confined in the attic.

It is said it is where she came up with the idea for Jane Eyre's Mrs Rochester.

A collection of documents and items from the attic have been given to the North Yorkshire County Records Office.

The house is due to reopen to visitors from 14:00 GMT on Friday.

Image caption Items from the attic, where a woman is said to have been incarcerated, have been donated to archivists

Norton Conyers has belonged to the Graham family since 1624.

Lady Graham said: "When the public come they will see all the main public rooms and some areas which have not been seen before.

"This includes the staircase which Charlotte Bronte described so well in Jane Eyre."

Archivists are working to establish who the woman in the attic might have been from the documents found during the renovation.

Image caption Norton Conyers is first mentioned in Domesday Book in 1086, but recent discoveries suggest vikings may have lived on the site before

Jane Eyre

Charlotte Bronte's novel Jane Eyre was published in 1847

It tells the story of Jane, an orphan girl who - after being shunned by her aunt and sent away to school - is appointed as governess to the ward of Edward Rochester at Thornfield Hall

Jane falls in love with Rochester but discovers he already has a wife, Bertha - a lunatic who is kept in the attic

On the verge of marrying another man, Jane is lured back to Thornfield Hall to discover it has been burned down by Bertha with Rochester blinded in an unsuccessful attempt to save his wife

With Bertha dead, Jane and Rochester are free to marry

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