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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A History Lesson for Viewers

This article is quite thorough in pointing out the Bronte associations of places near those used in the new BBC production of Jane Eyre.

The Brontë trail from the churchyard leads towards them, via scenes familiar to readers of Jane Eyre. A lane climbs through woodland to the view of Hathersage described in the novel, with the hexagonal spire of St Michael's Church rising above woods and pastures and a stream glittering elusively among them.
A footpath then passes a large house called Moorseats, standing alone on the hillside. This is generally supposed to be Moor House, to which an exhausted Jane was drawn from the moors like a moth to a flame by a light burning in a window. Eventually we reach North Lees Hall, an Elizabethan manor house that Brontë visited and that served as the inspiration for Thornfield Hall, the home of Edward Rochester.

"It was three stories high, of proportions not vast, though considerable; a gentleman's manor-house, not a nobleman's seat: battlements round the top gave it a picturesque look."
So Jane described her lover's retreat, and so it stands today. One of seven houses built by Sir Robert Eyre for his seven sons, it is now owned by the Peak Park, and is available as a holiday let.


BBC producers adjudged North Lees Hall too small for their drama, so they decamped Jane's lover to Haddon Hall near Bakewell.


Lord Edward recalls a problem that arose during an interior scene that was supposed to be taking place in spring. Unfortunately it was mid-winter, the room was freezing, and the actors had to have ice cubes in their mouths to prevent their breaths from visibly condensing in the cold air.

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