Top Withens

Top Withens-Wuthering Heights.

“Wuthering Heights is the name of Mr Heathcliff’s dwelling. `Wuthering’ being a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather. Pure, bracing ventilation they must have up there at all times, indeed; one may guess the power of the north wind blowing over the edge, by the excessive slant of a few stunted firs at the end of the house; and by a range of gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving alms of the sun.”

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

Originally known as “Top of th’Withens”. Top Withens is said to have been built in the second half of the 16th century by George Bentley. During the time of the Brontës, it was inhabited by Jonas Sunderland and his wife Ann Crabtree (from 1811) and then their son, Jonas, with Mary Feather (from 1833). It was last inhabited by Ernest Roddy in 1926.

Top Withens is at an elevation of about 1,400 feet, the bench mark on the southwest corner of the building is 1,376.9 ft above sea level. Situated in the West Yorkshire Moors, it is a windswept and dramatic place. It is said to be the inspiration for the Earnshaw family house in the novel, where both Catherine Earnshaw and Heatcliff lived. The evidence for this comes from Ellen Nussey a lifelong friend of Charlotte Brontë, who said that Top Withens was the model for the farmhouse of Wuthering Heights. She suggested it to Edward Morison Wimperis, an artist commissioned to illustrate the Brontë novels in 1872.


Top Withens during the 1920s.






Book: The World of the Brontes: Jane O Niell.



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