gothick2.jpg
A gentleman's library - not alas that at Hurtfew Abbey but one a little similar at Strawberry Hill house, Twicknam
Hurtfew Abbey
was the country residence in Yorkshire of Gilbert Norrell [1]. Standing on the River Hurt it had in former times, as the name intimates, been the site of a religious house founded by John Uskglass[66]. Although the stones used to build Mr Norrell's house were from the former abbey[66] apparently nothing of a monastic character remained:

"There was nothing of the Gothic about it. The house was modern, elegant and comfortable...[63]"

In fact one little trifling item from the old days had survived - the bell over the stables, used to regulate the working day of the servants no doubt. It was from the old abbey and it rang wildly when the Raven King, its former master, briefly turned his attention towards Hurtfew and its inhabitants[68].

In general however the house dated only from the time of Queen Anne; but its interior, or its library at any rate, was decorated somewhat in the modern style, with wonderfully well-carved gothic arches adorning its bookcases[1]. The library indeed was the glory of the house, containing as it did Mr Norrell's unrivalled collection of books of magic. (Their owner once puts the extent of this at "four or five thousand" volumes - a surprisingly vague figure, but Mr. Norrell gives it under trying circumstances[68].) The library was protected by a labyrinth and we are also told it was "the first rule of the house" that no-one should enter it unless either Mr Norrell or Childermass accompanied them[63]. It is their visit to the library at Hurtfew that so excites the admiration of Mr Segundus and Mr Honeyfoot (though they labour under the disadvantage of being unable to remember it clearly, a result no doubt of a protective confusion spell)[2]. It is in the library at Hurtfew that Strange and Norrell finally confront each other after the latter has returned wild magic to England, and it is there that they have the temerity to summon the Raven King himself[66].

When Norrell vanished into the Pillar of Darkness however his house accompanied him, along with its park, its classical bridge and, surprisingly, part of the River Hurt[69].


See [1], ...