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Part of Ponden Hall
Part of Ponden Hall

Ponden Hall is a farmhouse near Stanbury in West Yorkshire, England. It is famous for reputedly being the inspiration for Thrushcross Grange, the home of the Linton family, Edgar, Isabella, and Cathy, in Emily Brontë's novel Wuthering Heights. However, it does not match the description given in the novel and is closer in size and appearance to the farmhouse of Wuthering Heights itself.

The Brontë biographer Winifred Gerin believed that Ponden Hall was the original of Wildfell Hall, the old mansion where Helen Graham, the protagonist of Anne Brontë's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, fled from her husband.[1] Ponden shares certain architectural details with Wildfell: latticed windows, a central portico and date plaque above.

Wildfell Hall, supposedly inspired by Ponden Hall, in the engraving by Edmund Morison Wimperis.
Wildfell Hall, supposedly inspired by Ponden Hall, in the engraving by Edmund Morison Wimperis.

The "old house" was built in 1634 by Robert Heaton (1587–1641) for his son, Michael Heaton (1609–1643), although the east end incorporates an older building from 1541. The "old porch and peat house" was later built by Michael's son Robert (1642–1704) and in 1801 the hall was re-built by Robert's great-grandson, Robert Heaton (1757–1817).[2][citation needed] The old house was demolished in 1956.[citation needed]

In the early 19th century Ponden Hall held what was reputedly the largest private library in Yorkshire, which saw regular visits from Brontë children as they and the Heaton children would play together as well.[3] There are two entwined withered pear trees on the property, said to be planted there by one of the boys, Robert, as he longed for Emily's heart (was not meant to be as she was a little older).[citation needed] In the 19th century the Heaton family were textile manufacturers – particularly wool. With the death of Robert in 1898,[4] the last surviving Heaton male, the Hall was sold. The final Heaton male, George Smith Heaton, the son of Michael and Ellen Heaton of Royd House, died penniless at the Bendigo Benevolent Asylum in Victoria, Australia, on 12 February 1901.

The house is a Grade II* listed building[5] and was converted in 2014 into an award winning bed-and-breakfast establishment.[6]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Hiking England: Pennine Way - Part 5, Hebden Dale to Ponden
  • Haddon Hall
  • Heart Of England Way Day 01


Well I'm finally back on the Pennine Way. It's now after Christmas, there was quite a bit of snow for the last few weeks so I've avoided coming out here. It's still pretty cold it's about 1°C degrees and I'm getting some sleet starting to land on me. Now the weather forecast said it could be snow today, but I'm not going very far. I'm currently back at Gorple Reservoir and I'm going to head up to I think it's Widdop Reservoir, and get as far as maybe Ponden before I head back to my car. There's a little bit of a wind out and I can feel it going straight through my fleece, so I might put my waterproofs on, to make sure the windchill is bareable. It's quite cold on my hand holding the camera. You see there's still a lot of snow up in the hills. So let's head on over in that direction. The sleet's getting a bit heavier now, you can see it's landing on me. Nearly slipped. I'm just following a little waterboard access route to one of the reservoirs. But it's really stinging my face and my eyes, a very fine sleet. At least there's another hiker out that I can see, so it's just not me today. I'll put this away because it's quite cold on my hands. It's still very crisp underfoot. You can see I'm rapidly becoming surrounded by just white. Hopefully it's not going to be a complete whiteout. My fleece has got lots of snow stuck to it. I'm losing the path! It's over here. Hopefully I'll be getting to Top Withins within half an hour. I'm going to sit down there and have something to eat and to decide whether to press on to Ponden or whether I don't want to risk losing any visibility I've got. I keep hearing lots of grouse in the background. The red grouse which make their home in this type of heather because it's hard for predators to get them and it makes good nests. This old farm house I'm in has a slight claim to fame in that many people believe it is somehow associated with the novel Wuthering Heights. It's called Top Withins and it's kind of in a bleak moorland setting. Now about 5 or 6 miles away there's a small village called Haworth, and a family lived there with 6 children; 5 girls and 1 boy. And three of those girls wrote three famous books all published in the same year. Emily wrote Wuthering Heights, Anne wrote Agnes Grey and Charlotte wrote Jane Eyre. Now Jane Eyre was obviously the more acclaimed book. Now all of the children died quite young. Five of them died of tuberculosis and Charlotte died during pregnancy, so a very sad ending. Even though people say this farm house is the basis of the house in Wuthering Heights, there's a plaque telling me more about it because I've not actually read the books. It's starting to snow on me, so I'm going to seek some shelter in this old farm house again. Just let it pass. I don't know if it's going to get worse, I don't think I'm going to head on to Ponden. I might, we'll see what I feel like after I've had my lunch. If I can find anywhere dry to sit down. I remember the last time I came through here on the Pennine Way there was quite a few tourists here so they must take the association with the book more seriously than I do. You can see how the wind has just blown the ice straight through this hole. Oh well, time for something to eat. Well I kept walking past Top Withens and I've made it down to Ponden which is where I orginally intended to get to. I'm happy that I carried on going because as you can see there's not much snow down here. It's a lot clearer, you can see right across the valleys now, across Ponden Reservoir. I'm just going to head up to Ponden Hall and then my half way point for the day and I'll start heading back. I'm not sure what time it is, I must be back at my car for 4 o'clock that's when it starts getting darker. Well I'm at the bridge at the head of Ponden Reservoir and this is where I'm going to leave it for today. It's been a nice day out, fairly cold but dry. I've got less than 3 hours to get back now, so I'm going to move fairly fast, not much stopping, and hopefully I'll get back to my car with a little bit of light left. We'll see. I'm just slipping, aargh, that'd be a terrible way to end the video wouldn't it. Well I managed to make it back to my car and there's still some light left, though only about 30 minutes left. Hard going on top coming down from Top Withins and I fell over in the snow quite heavily. I could see the Stoodley Pike monument and even the M62, so it doesn't look like I've gone very far in these few weeks of walking so I might want to do a few more weekends to spur myself on. But because this is England and I'm at a road it means there's a pub within half a mile, so I'm going to go and get myself a drink and then head home. Come on sheep, I want to go home! That's right, keep moving.


  1. ^ Introductions for The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Worth Press Limited. 2008. ISBN 978-1-903025-57-4.
  2. ^ Bradford Archives
  3. ^ Dale, Sharon (4 August 2011). "Cathy come home". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  4. ^ Campbell, Marie (2001). Strange world of the Brontës. Wilmslow: Sigma Leisure. p. 128. ISBN 1-85058-758-2.
  5. ^ Historic England. "Ponden Hall  (Grade II*) (1313937)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  6. ^ Rahman, Mirhan (30 November 2016). "Coveted national award win for Stanbury's Ponden Hall bed and breakfast". Keighley News. Retrieved 23 January 2017.

External links

This page was last edited on 8 October 2018, at 20:31
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