Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter bought Hill Top in 1905 with the royalties from her first few books, written at her parents home in London, but inspired by her annual holiday visits to the Lake District. She visited as often as she could, but never for more than a few days at a time, sketching the house, garden, countryside and animals for her new books.

After she bought the house, she busied herself writing more books, and visiting her farm. In 1909 she bought another farm opposite Hill Top, Castle Farm, which became her main Lakeland base.

Beatrix wrote many of her famous children's stories in this little 17th century stone house. Characters such as Tom Kitten, Samuel Whiskers and Jemima Puddleduck were all created here, and the books contain many pictures based on the house and garden.

Esthwaite Water at Harvest Time by Beatrix Potter
Copyright © Frederick Warne & Co, 1968

Beatrix bought many pieces of land and property in and around Sawrey, including the Old Post Office, Castle Cottage and a number of small farms. In 1913, aged 47, she married William Heelis in London and moved to Lakeland, living at Castle Cottage which was bigger and more convenient than Hill Top.

There is a good example of traditional cottage garden, containing mainly old-fashioned flowers such as honeysuckle, foxgloves, sweet cicely, lupins, peonies, lavender and philadelphus. Roses grow ground the front door. Fruit still plays an important role in the garden - strawberries, raspberries, currants, gooseberries and rhubarb.

When she died in 1943, she left Hill Top to the National Trust with the proviso that it be kept exactly as she left it, complete with her furniture and china.

The Tower Bank Arms may be seen in 'The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck'.

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