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Last Updated on May 8, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 747


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Parsonage. Family home in an unnamed village in the north of England, that is provided to Agnes’s father because he is the parish priest. It is portrayed as modest but well-furnished and comfortable. The landscape is moorland, with narrow valleys, streams, and woods. Though neither the landscape nor her father’s labors as priest in the community are described in any detail, the parallels to Anne Brontë’s own parsonage home in Haworth in the Yorkshire Dales are very strong, although Haworth was somewhat less rural than Agnes’s home. Agnes and her mother are forced to leave the parsonage after her father’s death, as the house is owned by the church.


Wellwood. Newly built house of Mr. Bloomfield, the nouveau riche purse-proud manufacturer, whose wife first employs Agnes as governess to her two older children. Situated some twenty miles from the parsonage, it has well laid out grounds and woods with a large garden. It is Agnes’s home for a year until she is dismissed for incompetence. Brontë’s first post as governess at Blake Hall, Mirfield, seems to have served as material for the portrayal of Wellwood.

Horton Lodge

Horton Lodge. Home of Mr. Murray, Agnes’s second employer, located near O——, seventy miles away from the parsonage. O—— itself is a large town, but not in an industrial area. Horton Lodge is older and larger than Wellwood, with a deer park. The grounds are much more established, with fine old trees. It stands in fertile country, with green lanes and hedgerows, as opposed to the stone walls more typical of Yorkshire. Agnes finds its flatness boring after the moors of her hometown. Here she tutors the two girls of the family, Rosalie and Matilda, and, until they are sent away to school, the two younger boys. In the estate lie a number of cottages and farmhouses, at times visited by Agnes and the Murray girls to aid the sick and destitute. Horton Lodge is almost certainly modeled on Brontë’s second post as governess to the Robinson family at Thorp Green, and O—— is almost certainly York itself.


Horton. Village briefly described in the novel, whose main focal point is the parish church, lying two miles from the lodge. The Murrays attend regularly, sometimes by coach, sometimes on foot. It is here that Mr. Weston is appointed curate, assistant to the vicar, Mr. Hatfield. By contrast to Hatfield, Weston preaches evangelically and visits the poor with real compassion. In the cottage of the poor Nancy Brown, Agnes first has the opportunity to make his acquaintance.

Ashby Park

Ashby Park. Stately home of Sir Thomas Ashby and his mother, situated ten miles from Horton Lodge. Sir Thomas is an eligible bachelor, even though he has lived a somewhat dissolute life. It has been generally supposed he would propose to Rosalie Murray, which he dutifully does at a society ball held there. Thus Rosalie becomes Lady Ashby. When Agnes visits her, she describes it as commodious and elegant, standing in beautiful parkland, with herds of deer and ancient woodland. Rosalie means Agnes to be impressed by its magnificence; in fact, she is not. Underneath her pride in its grandeur, Rosalie regards it as bleak and isolated. She would much rather be in London, enjoying high society life. Her description of her husband’s behavior is not dissimilar to the account of Mr. Huntingdon in Brontë’s other novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848). Brontë’s sojourn with the wealthy Robinsons had given her much material for her descriptions of country gentry.


A——. Seaside town in which Agnes and her mother decide to set up a small girls’ school after the death of Mr. Grey. The school itself is situated in a rented house on the edge of town. The house lies some way from the beach, where Agnes loves to walk either with her students or...

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