Norton Conyers is a late medieval manor house with Stuart and Georgian additions.
First mentioned in Domesday Book in 1086 but recent discoveries suggest there was a habitation here in Viking times. It is one of the most complex timber-framed houses in the country and except for the twenty years between 1862 and 1882, has been in the Graham family since 1624. The family had important connections with the Stuart family; both Charles I and James II stayed here while travelling to Scotland. The house has been much loved and had a great deal of rebuilding and restoration. Many visitors have remarked upon its notably friendly atmosphere which we believe, results from so many years of occupation by the same family.
The exterior has distinctive Dutch-style gables whilst the interior contains fine 18th century plaster ceilings in the principal rooms,
fine furniture, and accumulated family pictures, especially portraits and a famous John Ferneley hunting group, 'The Quorn Hunt in 1822'.
The house has received many noteworthy visitors over the years including Charles 1 in 1633, James II and his wife in 1679 (the room and the bed they traditionally used are still on display), and Charlotte Brontė in 1839.
Charlotte Brontė, Norton Conyers and Jane Eyre
In 1839 Charlotte Brontė visited Norton Conyers and heard the legend of a mad woman confined in the attics in the previous century, it is said to have given her the idea for the mad Mrs Rochester in 'Jane Eyre', and the house's interior gave her many ideas for Mr. Rochester's 'Thornfield Hall'.
The discovery in 2004 of a blocked staircase connecting the first floor to the attics and clearly mentioned in the novel, aroused world-wide interest in Norton Conyers and confirmed it as a principal inspiration for 'Thornfield Hall'.
The house itself has been undergoing extensive restoration for several years and is currently closed to the public. The owners plan to open the house once more in Spring 2015. However, groups are welcome to book a private tour by contacting us and arranging a suitable date and time.
Laid out in the mid-18th century, this large and magical walled garden has a central Orangery, an ornamental pond, magnificent herbaceous borders and parkland beyond. A small sales area, specialising in unusual hardy plants, is open during the summer months. PYO fruit, vegetables and seasonal flowers are also for sale.
A new attraction in the Garden will be an exhibition of vintage garden tools. They have been collected during 40 years by local-born Robert Addyman; he has a collection of over 4,000 such items. The tools on display will be those that are appropriate to the work being carried out in the garden during the appropriate month. Mr Addyman will be giving talks about his exhibition on the days the house is open to the public.
Historic House restoration award for Norton Conyers
Please click the photograph below to view a short BBC video