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Top Withens

1026 of 1170 nominations


Top Withens

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Top Withens

“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.” So Emily Brontë describes the setting in her passionate novel Wuthering Heights (1847).

Local legend has it that the situation of the farmhouse called Top Withens was Emily Brontë’s inspiration, but now all that is left of that building is a ruin. The position is undeniably impressive, standing as it does in splendid isolation on a vast windswept moor-top above the hamlet of Stanbury, near Haworth where the Brontë family grew up. It is a place for the soul to run wild and free, releasing the rather less restrained side of the English character.


Your comments

I nominate Top Withens in Haworth, Yorkshire

Brian Blessed

I was shocked to read a few years ago about how the water board had allowed Top Withens to fall into ruin. I was even more shocked that so few seemed to understand the deep significance such a place holds for Bronte readers. Whether it served as a model for Wuthering Heights or not, that it existed at the time the book was written and local lore claims it is the model is enough for me to want to go to England just to see it. What's really sad is that, up until the 1920s, it was still inhabited. Oh well, better a ruin than have it rebuilt and turned into a Bronte gift shop. How can England be so blind to the importance of such a place?
Mary Leigh Best Nears

Emily Bronte may have been a dab hand with a pen but her observations of Nature leave a bit to be desired. The prevailing wind direction at Top Withens is southwest, not north as she suggests, and the trees and bushes in the area slant in a direction according with that.
Wayne Alderson

View All Comments (4)



My nomination is the garden shed.