Yorkshire has a wonderful literary history dating back hundreds of years and the county’s stunning array of offerings continues to inspire authors, poets and playwrights today.
Here are some of the county’s most famous literary inspirations.
Brontë Country – Haworth
The Brontës are the world’s most famous literary family and the Haworth Parsonage, set in the picturesque village of Haworth against the stunning landscape of the Yorkshire Moors, was home to the family from 1820 to 1861.
Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë were the authors of some of the best-loved books in the English language. Charlotte’s novel ‘Jane Eyre‘ (1847), Emily’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ (1847), and Anne’s ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall‘ (1848) were written in this house over a hundred and fifty years ago, yet their power still moves readers today.
Wuthering Heights, the immortal tale that was Emily Brontë’s only novel, is set against a backdrop of the moors around Haworth.
Early on, Mr Lockwood, the narrator, wrote in his journal, “This is certainly a beautiful country! In all England, I do not believe that I could have fixed on a situation so completely removed from the stir of society.”
And it is surely only in such a vast natural wilderness that such a story of love and alienation, cruelty and passion could have taken place.
The Haworth Parsonage is now The Brontë Parsonage Museum and it houses the world’s largest collection of Brontë furniture, clothes and personal possessions and offers an inspirational and evocative experience for people of all ages.
Over 125 years ago, a man by the name of Bram Stoker visited the stunning seaside town of Whitby and left with an idea that would change literary history forever.
Inspired by the gothic charm of the town, Stoker went on to write one of the most famous horror novels of all time in the form of Dracula.
Not only was Yorkshire the inspiration for Dracula but much of the action took place here too. The ship bringing the vampire to England ran aground on the windswept North Sea coast at Whitby and the most famous vampire of all time took refuge in the beautiful and romantic ruins of Whitby Abbey.
It may be a work of fiction but visitors to Whitby can almost feel the novel come to life; many visitors to the town scale the 199 steps and search St Mary’s Church graveyard in search of the infamous Count’s last resting place.
You’ve probably read the books written by James Alfred Wight or watched All Creatures Great and Small on TV. Now come and see where James Herriot, the world’s most famous vet, lived, worked and relaxed. You’ll see his home and surgery in Thirsk; travel back in time to what life was like when James was a vet in Yorkshire.
At The World of James Herriot you can see the car he drove, step into the TV set, try your hand at being a vet and even experience what it was like to hide in a Second World War air raid shelter.
If you want to explore the wilder side of Herriot Country then head off on a Herriot County Tour where Peter and Christine Chilton will use their knowledge and experience of Yorkshire to take you off the beaten tourist trail and show you the real towns and villages of James Herriot’s Yorkshire Dales.
The Tolkien Triangle
The Tolkien Triangle starts in Hull, where Tolkien was hospitalised twice and was visited by a Sister of Mercy who became a lifelong friend, then to Hornsea Musketry Camp, his first posting in East Yorkshire, and where Edith, his wife, took lodgings nearby.
It then bears south, via Roos, to a camp called Thirtle Bridge, where the author recuperated. Edith took lodgings in nearby Withernsea.
Finally, the triangle takes us further south to Easington and Kilnsea, where Tolkien was part of the Royal Defence Corps. Much of his early mythology and invented languages was written during his stay in East Yorkshire in the First World War.
The spa town of Harrogate has also played proud host to a literary stalwart. In 1926, the best-selling novelist of all time, Agatha Christie, staged a disappearance that would have put Hercule Poirot himself in a quandary.
For ten days, the mistress of mystery managed to hide from the world under a false identity, leaving no clues to her whereabouts other than a letter saying she was going to Yorkshire. At last, the police discovered her in Harrogate.