Ponden Kirk

Ponden Kirk (Penistone Crags).

“The abrupt descent of Penistone Crag particularly attracted her notice; especially when the setting sun shone on it and the topmost heights, and the whole extent of landscape besides lay in shadow. I explained that they were bare masses of stone, with hardly enough earth in their clefts to nourish a stunted tree.”

“This bed is the fairy cave under Peniston Crag, and you are gathering elf-bolts to hurt our heifers; pretending, while I am near, that they are only locks of wool. That’s what you’ll come to fifty years hence: I know you are not so now. I’m not wandering: you’re mistaken, or else I should believe you really were that withered hag, and I should think I was under Peniston Crag; and I’m conscious it’s night, and there are two candles on the table making the black press shine like jet.”

Emily Bronte – Wuthering Heights

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Ponden Kirk is a crag of gritstone rock that juts out of the moorside just under one mile north of Top Withens and nearly five and a half miles west of Haworth. Ponden Kirk was the inspiration for Penistone Crags in Wuthering Heights.

The rocks have a hole in the base of them which is mentioned in the novel as the Fairy Cave. Many local legends are associated with the hole, one in particular – is that if a woman can pass through the hole she will marry within a year.

Emily is said to have regularly visited this area of the Moorland. The name Kirk means church in Scottish but there are no records of this being a religious site which could mean that it was used as a prehistoric pagan site.

The following exceprt is from Wuthering Heights:

Chapter 12.  “This bed is the fairy cave under Penistone crags”. In chapter 18, Cathy ponders on the crags from Thrushcross Grange, as Ellen explains: “The abrupt descent of Penistone Crags particularly attracted her notice; especially when the setting sun shone on it and the topmost heights, and the whole extent of landscape besides lay in shadow. I explained that they were bare masses of stone, with hardly enough earth in their clefts to nourish a stunted tree.”Also Hareton takes Cathy to Penistone Crags on their first meeting and explains about the Fairy Cave to her. 

Information gathered from –

http://www.wuthering-heights.co.uk/locations/pondenkirk.htm#base

http://www.haworth-village.org.uk/brontes/places/ponden_kirk.asp

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