Brontë Country (Wycoller)
Brontë Country can loosely be defined as the area containing the majestic landscapes and quiet Yorkshire villages which inspired the talented Brontë family. The windswept Brontë Moors and stone and slate hillside villages were known and loved by Emily, Anne, Charlotte, Branwell and Patrick. They were the basis, together with the people they met, for the settings and characters of the sombre novels, 'Wuthering Heights' and 'Jane Eyre'.
Wycoller, which is in Lancashire and only a short distance across the moors from Haworth, has a unique atmosphere. As it is so closely associated with the Brontës, it is included in the Yorkshire album. Cars are excluded from this attractive village, which is now the centre of a conservation area and is closely connected with the Brontë family. Charlotte and Emily would have been frequent visitors on their many walks from their Parsonage home in Haworth. The ruins of 'Ferndean Manor' dominate Wycoller and can be reached by crossing the Pack Horse Bridge or venturing through the ford across Wycoller Beck. A scene from the classic 1970s film, ‘The Railway Children’, was filmed at Wycoller. A pony and trap is driven through the ford by the Pack Horse Bridge, where Jenny Agutter is seen sitting on the bridge.
Wycoller Hall is believed to be the inspiration for 'Ferndean Manor' in the novel, 'Jane Eyre', where Mr. Rochester, badly scarred from the fire at 'Thornfield Hall', eventually finds happiness with Jane. In Jane Eyre, 'Ferndean Manor' is described as, 'a building of considerable antiquity, moderate size, and no architectural pretensions, deep buried in a wood.' It is said that Mr. Rochester would have let the house, 'but could find no tenant, in consequence of its ineligible and insalubrious site.'
Wycoller Hall was owned by the Cunliffe family from the 17th Century. Elizabeth Cunliffe married Thomas Eyre and had two children, Betty and Thomas. The association between Wycoller Hall and the Eyre family would not have escaped Charlotte Brontë's notice.