Uncover George Eliot country
“Unconventional”, “unorthodox”, descriptions of one of the leading nineteenth century authors Mary Ann Evans, known as George Eliot and born in Nuneaton; drawing on her early life here in rural Warwickshire her themes and characters are just as relevant today as then.
Many of the places important in Mary Ann’s life and inspiring scenes in her novels such as Middlemarch, Mill on the Floss and Scenes of Clerical Life can still be visited.
The George Eliot Fellowship hosts an annual tour and George Eliot Day, usually in May which offers exclusive access to her homes with expert guides.
2019 will be the bi-centenary of her birth with many events planned so keep an eye on our events calendar. Visit the George Eliot Fellowship website to learn more about: “the most famous, most intelligent, most widely read, and after the Queen, the richest woman in Britain”.
Whenever you visit us here are some of our top tips to uncover George Eliot country:
The Arbury Hall estate is the birthplace of Mary Ann who was the daughter of the estate’s land agent, Robert Evans. This beautiful historic house is open at bank holidays and to groups by appointment. Mary Ann spent hours in the library reading to excite her strong intellect.
For many years Mary Ann lived at Griff House now a welcoming restaurant and hotel making this an ideal base for a George Eliot break.
“Shepperton” church from the Tales of Amos Barton is actually All Saints Church Chilvers Coton. This is where Mary Ann was baptised and her father and family members are buried.
Astley Castle has been stunningly restored by the Landmark Trust to make a luxurious holiday rental; Mary Ann visited the castle regularly with her father and re-imagined it as “Knebley Abbey” with “Knebley church” alongside actually Astley Church where her parents married.
St Mary the Virgin, Astley church is where her parents married and later was described as “Knebley Church” in Scenes of Clerical Life. Astley’s vicar was also the inspiration for the character the Reverend Gilfil.
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