A Guided Tour of Thorp Green
(Horton)
 (Part 1 of 4)

Score Ray Lane - with the site of Thorp Green Hall on the right (1997)

The point where the lane appears to disappear, over on the left, is in fact its junction with Moss Hill Lane, which takes off to the right, passing behind and beyond the building seen in front of us; and Thorp Green Lane which disappears off to the left - making its way northward to the quaint village of Little Ouseburn and its church. This was the church where Anne worshipped with the Robinson family, as does Agnes and the Murrays in Anne's novel, Agnes Grey. On our right is the site of Thorp Green Hall - the building that became Horton Lodge in Agnes Grey. The grounds are now occupied by 'Queen Ethelberger's private boarding college for girls'. There are several entrances - as we can see here; the main one being that on our immediate right (off the edge of the photograph). We'll turn to our right, face the entrance . . .

 


 

Notice at entrance to Thorp Underwood Hall Main entrance to Thorp Underwood Hall (1998)

. . . and find ourselves confronted by these two, solid wooden gates that look as if they're designed to keep out Russian tanks (and probably would); a security camera menacingly staring down at us, and these plaques - located on the wall just beside the gates. If you can't discern the text on the bottom plaque - here it is again:

ON THIS SITE STOOD THORP GREEN HALL.
HERE AS GOVERNESS LIVED ANNE BRONTE 1841-5.
THIS INSPIRED HER BOOK AGNES GRAY
ALSO EMPLOYED AS TUTOR BRANWELL BRONTE 1843-5
THE HALL WAS DESTROYED BY FIRE IN 1898

A little further back along the lane we passed a small entrance which leads into the staff car park - we'll go back and enter the premises by that route. From the car park, we walk along a narrow path - through the picturesque grounds, passing by some lovely flower gardens and lawns with several ornamental ponds and fountains, and arrive in front of the main hall . . .

 


 

Thorp Underwood Hall (front) (1997)

. . . This is Thorp Underwood Hall - built in the early 1900s as a replacement for Thorp Green Hall which was destroyed by fire; though it does not quite stand on the same location. The original Hall stood adjacent to the left hand side of this building. Many of the beams from the old hall were used in the construction of this one. We won't be entering Thorp Underwood Hall today . . . Oh, you're wondering what those faint, curious looking, small lights in the bottom right hand window are? Come on then, we'll get someone to open the key-pad secured, main entrance door for us - I'm sure they won't mind us taking a peep into the entrance hall . . .

 


 

The entrance hallway of Thorp Underwood Hall

. . . these are the lights! Well, we haven't time for a tour around this building today, but take it from me - this elegance is repeated throughout the entire building. (This photograph was re-produced from the 'Queen Ethelberger's College' brochure - given to me by the Principle). Instead, we'll go back outside, stand and admire the hall once more (previous picture) then make our way across to the left, passing by the site of 'Thorp Green Hall' - on our right . . .

 


 

Throrp Green Hall - front view (late 1800s)
Thorp Green Hall
Thorp Green Hall - rear view (late 1800s)
Thorp Green Hall - rear view

The photograph on the left shows the front of Thorp Green Hall, taken from somewhere near the main entrance gates (that we saw a little earlier) (these pictures - late 1800s). The photograph on the right shows the rear of the hall, and on the extreme right (in this picture) is the 'east wing' of the building. Anne's bedroom is believed to have been in this east section of the house (just as Agnes' is), and would have been at the far-side, overlooking an ornamental pond - which we shall see shortly.

The portrait on the right is of Mrs. Lydia Robinson - wife of the Reverend Edmund Robinson - Anne and Branwell's employer at Thorp Green Hall. It was Branwell's affair with Mrs. Robinson that eventually resulted in his dismissal, and the whole episode is generally accepted as being the main cause of his gradual decline which ultimately led to his death. All the evidence suggests that Lydia Robinson played the leading role in instigating and furthering their affair. Charlotte's friend and biographer, Elizabeth Gaskell, referred to her as 'that bad woman who corrupted Branwell Brontë'.

We will continue moving to our left, and a little way after passing what would have been the front of Thorp Green Hall (pic on left - above), we will turn slightly more than 90° to the right . . .

Mrs. Lydia Robisnon
Mrs. Lydia Robinson


 

The only remains of Thorp Green Hall (wall on right)

The long wall on the right is the only remaining part of Thorp Green Hall, and, of course, the building extended beyond those large trees on the extreme right. This wall was almost certainly part of the 'east side-wall' of the building, and, as already mentioned, was the wing that contained Anne's (and Agnes') bedroom, which would have overlooked this ornamental pond. Not too far beyond the left-hand side of the pond is the boundary wall behind which runs 'Moss Hill Lane' - more about this lane later!

Let's now make our way across to the tall tree at the far side of the pond and look back this way . . .

 


 

Ornamental Fish Pond that stood beside Thorp Green Hall

We are now viewing the pond, from just below, what would have been Anne's/Agnes' bedroom window. (This photograph was also re-produced from the brochure. Why does the sun always shine when other people take photographs - but never when I take mine!?).

O/K. We'll leave the pond by the pathway opposite (on the left), and keep walking in that direction for about 100 yards . . .

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