A sixteenth century farmhouse, the grandest building in the neighbourhood except for Thrushcross Grange. The home of the Earnshaws and, later on, owned by Heathcliff.
Wuthering Heights ("Wuthering" is a local word, meaning wild, exposed, storm-blown, see Pronunciations) is in a very exposed position on the moors, a four mile (6.5 kilometre) walk from Thrushcross Grange. The nearest town or village is Gimmerton which has the doctor and parson.
The farm sits on the northern side of a hilltop also known as Wuthering Heights (or "the Heights"). This hill prevents it from seeing Thrushcross Grange directly. The road from the farm into Gimmerton valley is steep and winding.
To see an enlarged view of the the map above right, see The Moors page.
The farm is surrounded by a wall with a barred gate secured by a chain. A pathway leads from the garden gate to the main door with gooseberry bushes bordering it.
There is a barn nearby with a round window (possibly a pitching window) which is within speaking distance of the main door. The barn has a fairly large porch (big enough to shelter twelve sheep).
There are also some stables with a porch and a shed behind the barn which can be used for milking cows.
From the farmhouse entrance, a yard is visible. As well as the front entrance, you can get to the interior by passing through a wash-house and a paved area containing a coal shed, pump and pigeon cot.
The farmhouse has a few stunted trees at the end of the house and a range of thorns, permanently bent by the wind. The trees are firs, one of which damages the kitchen chimney stack during high winds. They are close to the house for one of them breaks Lockwood's window in chapter 2, and Cathy escapes via the trees.
It has narrow windows, deeply set in the walls, protected by shutters. The building's corners are defended by large, jutting stones. There are at least two chimney stacks, one in the east which is the kitchen's.
The entrance to the sitting-room has grotesque carving over the front and around the main door. The door has griffins and 'boys' (cherubs?) carved above with the date 1500 and the name 'Hareton Earnshaw'. This leads directly into the family sitting-room, big enough to hold a fifteen-man band. (In other farms, it generally was the sitting-room and kitchen but Wuthering Heights had a separate kitchen.)
There is a large fireplace. Opposite is a vast oak dresser which reaches to the roof (which is not underdrawn). This dresser has a collection of large pewter dishes with silver jugs and tankards, and space at the bottom for dogs and children to shelter in. Above the fireplace are some old guns and horse pistols. There are three gaudily-painted canisters on the mantlepiece.
The floor of the sitting room is of smooth, white stone. There are some high-backed, primitive chairs painted green and one or two heavy black ones in the shadows. It has a side door leading down to a cellar.
The kitchen has a hearth nearly enclosed by two benches shaped as circular segments. There is a ladder that goes through a trap in the roof, believed by Lockwood to lead to the garret where Joseph sleeps (although he sleeps above the first floor). The kitchen has windows which face east or south east to allow in light in the morning.
There is a small spare room which Hindley considered turning into a parlour but it is not clear whether this was on the ground or first floor.
The stairs are probably in or close to the kitchen (Lockwood gets to it from upstairs without disturbing the dog in the sitting-room). They are open since Hindley looks down from above and drops Hareton over the banisters.
The main bedroom during Heathcliff's ownership of Wuthering Heights was described thus: "There was a carpet—a good one, but the pattern was obliterated by dust; a fireplace hung with cut-paper, dropping to pieces; a handsome oak-bedstead with ample crimson curtains of rather expensive material and modern make; but they had evidently experienced rough usage: the vallances hung in festoons, wrenched from their rings, and the iron rod supporting them was bent in an arc on one side, causing the drapery to trail upon the floor. The chairs were also damaged, many of them severely; and deep indentations deformed the panels of the walls."
Another room, Catherine's, consists of a chair, clothes-press and a large oak case with squares cut near the top resembling coach windows. It has panelled sides which slide back to reveal a couch. It is against a window whose ledge acts as a table. A fir tree is outside, close enough for its branches to touch the latticed window (in 1801).
One room upstairs is turned into a parlour for Linton and also used as such by Cathy.
|Year||Events||Main Room||Second Room||Third Room||Fourth Room||Spare Room|
|1771||Heathcliff's arrival||Mr & Mrs Earnshaw||Hindley & Catherine||Ellen||Spare||Spare|
|1771-4||Catherine & Hindley grow apart||Mr & Mrs Earnshaw||Hindley||Ellen||Catherine & Heathcliff||Spare|
|1777||Hindley's return||Hindley & Frances||Spare||Ellen (& Hareton later)||Catherine||Spare|
|1783 Mar||Catherine marries Edgar||Hindley||Spare||Hareton (nearly 5)||Spare||Spare|
|1783 Sep||Heathcliff returns||Hindley||Heathcliff||Hareton (5)||Spare||Spare|
|1784||Heathcliff marries Isabella||Heathcliff||Hindley (until Sep)||Hareton||Spare||Isabella|
|1801 Aug||Cathy marries Linton||Heathcliff||Cathy & Linton||Zillah||Unused||Parlour|
|1801 Nov||Lockwood's first visit||Heathcliff||Cathy||Zillah||Unused (except by Lockwood)||Unused|
Joseph's room is in the attic (garrets), reached via a ladder. There is enough room for at least four people (the young Cathy, Heathcliff and a plough boy were treated to a service with Joseph).
There are (at least) two garrets, one of which Heathcliff was locked in as a child (and may well have been his room). They have skylights and the young Catherine was able to climb from one garret to the other via the skylights.
See how the farmhouse of Wuthering Heights may have evolved over its three centuries.
See more views of the interior and exterior of Wuthering Heights.
The remote, abandoned farm of Top Withens (or Top Withins) is often thought of as the inspiration for the Wuthering Heights farmhouse although its appearance does not match the house in the book. Its location though does suggest the isolated and windswept site of the Heights. Top Withens is located about 5 kilometers south-west of Haworth.
A location map of Top Withens can be seen here and the aerial view here. It is also marked on the Google Map of Emily Brontë/Wuthering Heights locations.
Another building that Emily Brontë would probably have seen when she was at Law Hill, and is sometimes considered to be an inspiration is High Sunderland Hall, near Halifax (now sadly demolished). It certainly has architectural features resembling Wuthering Heights, particularly the porch, but it is too grand for a farmhouse. A Victorian map showing the location of High Sunderland Hall can be seen by clicking here.
Possibly the most likely single inspiration for the building is actually the one usually cited as Thrushcross Grange, Ponden Hall. As can be seen from the photographs below, it is not unlike the 3D model that I constructed (which I did before seeing Ponden Hall). Imagine the Hall being located where Top Withens is and you are not far from Wuthering Heights.
A GoogleMap showing Wuthering Heights and Emily Brontë locations can be seen by clicking on the image left or here.
Note: the 3D models of the buildings were created in Google Sketchup