Historic homes with links to literary heroes

Explore the grand and humble homes with connections to William Shakespeare, Charlotte Brontë, Roald Dahl and other cultural giants through a new online literary trail from the Historic Houses Association. 

Published: February 27th, 2017 at 2:52 pm

Where did Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet get over their pride and prejudice? Where did Jane Eyre work as a governess and where did the controversial author of Lady Chatterley's lover grow up?
The clues are in a new literary trail by the Historic Houses Association, starring more than 40 homes in the UK with links to literary figures, books and plays.
Look at our trail highlights below or find a house near you.


Our trail highlights

Goodnestone Park Gardens
Canterbury, Kent

It's rumoured that the spectacular home of Jane Austen's elder brother inspired the setting of her legendary novel Pride and Prejudice.
The author would often visit Goodnestone Park to attend family dances and parties. It's even thought that the fictional double wedding of Elizabeth Bennet to the dashing Mr Darcy and Jane Bennet to Mr Bingly was based on the real-life marriage that took place in Goodnestone church of Austen's brother to Elizabeth Bridges, and William Deedes to Elizabeth's sister Sophia Bridges.

DH Lawrence Birthplace Museum
Eastwood, Nottinghamshire
This humble miner's cottage was the childhood home of rebel writer DH Lawrence whose saucy novel Lady Chatterley's Lover scandalised Victorian England and was banned for being obscene.
Surrounded by lovely countryside that influenced Lawrence's life and literature, it was here that the sickly baby called Bert grew up to be an educated author who travelled the world.

Lamport Hall
Lamport, Northamptonshire

Imagine the frisson of excitement across the literary world when a hitherto unknown 1599 edition of Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis was discovered in a dusty attic here in 1867.
Covered in dust and partly nibbled by mice, the great literary find was among a small collection of late Elizabethan vellum-bound books discovered by one Charles Edmond, who had been tasked with cataloguing the books in the ancestral home of the Isham family.
The Ishams were eventually forced to sell the book. However, a Victorian replica will go on show this year to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the discovery.

Melrose, Scotland

Sir Walter Scott was the JK Rowling of his day and his home is one of Scotland's most important cultural landmarks.
Initially writing anonymously, the author became the world's first global literary celebrity a mere five years before his death when he finally claimed ownership for such international bestsellers as the Waverley novels and Rob Roy in 1827.
Look out for the extraordinary collection of rare and unusual books in the library and the luxuries of 19th century Scotland such as under-floor heating and flushing toilets.

Norton Conyers
Ripon, North Yorkshire

Charlotte Brontë wrote her classic novel Jane Eyre after being inspired by the goings-on in this 17th-century house.
In 1839, the author worked as a governess here and heard rumours that a lady known as 'Mad Mary' had been incarcerated in one of the gable rooms. The story inspired her to create the tragic figure of Mrs Rochester in the book.
Look out for the wood panelling that conceals a hidden staircase, leading up to the attic space above, which is also believed to make an appearance in the novel.

Full list of properties on the trail 

2 Temple Place
Fitzroy House
Strawberry Hill House
The Queens House

South East
Blenheim Palace
Chawton House Library
Goodnestone Park
Hever Castle
Restoration House
Saint Hill Manor
West Dean College

East of England 
Holkham Hall
Knebworth House
The Manor Cambridgeshire

East Midlands 
Boughton House
Cotesbach Hall
DH Lawrence Birthplace Museum
Grimsthorpe Castle
Lamport Estate
Renishaw Hall
Rockingham Castle

West Midands
Arbury Hall

South West
Athelhampton House
Berkeley Castle
Kelmscott Manor
Tiverton Castle
Ugbrooke House
Wilton House
Woodchester Mansion

Norton Conyers

North West
Combermere Abbey
Hoghton Tower
Hutton in the Forest
Lytham Hall
Old Medicine House

Cawdor Castle
Glamis Castle
Gordon Castle


Visit the Historic Houses Association to find out more. Remember to check opening dates and times before visiting.



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