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Bestselling authors visit Wycoller’s Brontë landmark

Published: Monday, 12th September 2016

Tracy Chevalier at Wycoller

Tracy Chevalier at Wycoller Hall

Historical novelist Tracy Chevalier, author of worldwide bestseller Girl with a Pearl Earring visited Wycoller in Pendle, Lancashire this Sunday to find out more about our Brontë connections.

Tracy Chevalier is the Brontë Museum’s Creative Partner for Charlotte Brontë’s 200th anniversary year and has developed a special exhibition at the Parsonage called Charlotte Great and Small.
Tracy followed in the Brontës’ footsteps, walking over the moors into Lancashire along the Brontë Way.

She was accompanied by fellow bestselling novelist, Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist.

The two writers had never visited Wycoller before and walked from Ponden Hall, the real Wuthering Heights, to Wycoller Hall, the real Ferndean Manor in Jane Eyre.

Leader of Pendle Council, Councillor Mohammed Iqbal said:

“Pendle in Lancashire is little-known for its Brontë connections, but they are compelling.

“Wycoller is just nine miles as the crow flies from the Haworth Parsonage and Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne  Brontë often crossed the border over the moors into Lancashire.

Tracy Chevalier said: 

"I'm sure that Charlotte Brontë walked all the way down here through the trees, and it would have opened out to this amazing view.  

“It's really wonderful to be here and see it.  

“You don't understand the power of the place until you come and witness it yourself."

Tracy and Jessie were shown round the atmospheric village and ruined hall by John Crow, a volunteer Friend of Wycoller and an experienced guide and teller of ghost stories.

John told them about the history of the Hall and its infamous squire and shared some of the Lancashire tales and hair-raising ghost stories which had inspired Charlotte Brontë in her writing.

“It's been wonderful to make those connections.  I'm going to go home and read the last section of Jane Eyre and say 'Ah - I've been there!”  Added Tracy.

Jessie Burton was impressed by Wycoller and its peaceful setting too:

“Wycoller is stunning.  It’s beautiful and so quiet,” she said.
Pendle Council has collaborated with the Brontë Parsonage and Lancashire County Council’s Wycoller ranger and Friends for a free programme of events which are running until October. 

The next events, are two free drama workshops on Sunday 25th September,  in Wycoller’s Aisled Barn for children aged 8 and up and their families.

Called Jane Eyre off the page, it’s being led by the Brontë Parsonage’s Learning Officer Sue Newby and places can be booked via Eventbrite using Bronte Lancashire in the search.
Sarah Lee, from Pendle Council’s Communications Team has co-ordinated events for the bicentenary  said: 

“I urge anyone who loves the Brontë novels to come and  visit and explore our fascinating landscape and history for themselves,  using our website www.visitpendle.com as a starting point.

Note to editors
 Girl with a Pearl Earring was adapted as a 2003 film starring Scarlett Johansson and Colin Firth.  Tracy Chevalier, from Washington DC, has sold multi-million copies of her most famous novel which has been translated into 36 languages. 

Tracy Chevalier, American British historical novelist, has written 9 novels. This year the hardback of At the Edge of the Orchard was published about a pioneer famiy on the American frontier & explores their relationship with trees.