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The Real Wuthering Heights
The Story of the Withins Farms
Steven Wood, Peter Brears
15 Mar 2016
Top Withins farm on Stanbury Moor, West Yorkshire, is internationally famous as the inspiration for Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights and is visited by hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world every year. Apart from the Brontë connection, it stands on the Pennine Way and is one of the highlights for the many who walk it each year.
As well as tracing the history of the Withins farms and their inhabitants from 1567 to the present day, this book looks at the everyday life of the farmers who lived there. It gives a full account of the building history, farming practices, textile production and domestic life over the years, illustrated by Peter Brears’ splendid reconstructions of the buildings and their interiors and of the tools and utensils used in farming, weaving and cooking.
A walk from Stanbury to Top Withins and back to Haworth is described in detail, including the history of all the farms that are passed on the way. Many of these are now almost forgotten, but a surprising amount of information about them is included. The final chapter gives a full account of the life and work of Timmy Feather, the last of the handloom weavers on these moors.
This book is the most complete and wide-ranging account of the life and work of a South Pennine hill farm ever attempted and is of relevance far beyond the small area with which it deals. It will appeal to all who are interested in the history of Yorkshire, to Brontë enthusiasts and to Pennine Way walkers.