Norton Conyers
Norton Conyers
An attractive late medieval manor thought to have been the inspiration for Charlotte Bronte's Thornfield Hall in the novel Jane Eyre. The manor was owned by the Graham family from 1624 (with the exception of a brief period in the late 19th century). The house is a pleasing mix of historic styles, from Dutch gables to Georgian plasterwork interior rooms. The interior displays fine art, including collections of family portraits and work by John Ferneley.
Norton Conyers was visited by two kings; Charles I in 1633, and James I in 1679. The bedchamber used by James and his wife Anne, and the bed they slept in, are still on display.

When Charlotte Bronte visited in 1839 her hosts told her the story of a mad woman who had to be confined in the attic of the hall sometime in the 18th century. The incident inspired Bronte to create the character of Mrs Rochester in Jane Eyre, and she was thought to have modelled Thornfield Hall on Norton Conyers. This suggestion seems to have been verified when, in 2004, a blocked staircase linking the first floor to the attics was discovered. The staircase is described vividly by Bronte in the novel.

A short stroll from the house is the peaceful 18th century garden, built around a central orangery standing before an ornamental pond. Surrounding the orangery are colourful herbaceous borders and trimmed yew hedges. Also featured are irises and old fashioned peonies.