Mrs Heelis

This weekend the Photo Challenge over on our other site is Top of The Hill. This is my response to the challenge.

Being a creature of habit, I’ve chosen to use a combination of words and pictures for the challenge; the blend mostly tells a story about a house called Hill Top and Mrs Heelis, the lady who once lived there.

Mrs Heelis, the wife of country solicitor William Heelis, was better known to most as Beatrix Potter, the author of 23 little books about rabbits, mice, hedgehogs, ducks, foxes, kittens and many more! (A 24th book was recently discovered)

Little characters

A couple of weeks ago I wrote on these pages that my son and I had recently spent a delightful few days in the Lake District (Cumbria, North West England). In part, this is a continuation of our visit.

Whilst in Windermere and visiting The World of Beatrix Potter exhibition, we slipped outside and took a peep at Mr McGregor’s small but perfect garden replica of the 2014 gold medal winner at the Chelsea Flower Show. The garden photos can be seen further ahead.

After visiting the exhibition, we planned to take the car ferry across the lake and visit Hill Top, the former home of Beatrix Potter. We were looking forward to this, but unfortunately, and what a disappointment, the car ferry wasn’t running. A longish drive around the lake followed until we finally arrived in the village of Near Sawrey and Hill Top Farm. 

Sawrey Village from National Trust

Beatrix bequeathed her former home Hill Top Farm to the National Trust and included her possessions, furniture, pictures and ornaments. Hill Top was everything Josh and I had hoped for,  it had remained exactly as it was when Beatrix lived there.

kitchen Range at Hill Top

The Old Farmhouse Kitchen

The display cupboard

The china cupboard showing Beatrix’s original Peter Rabbit pottery

My own cabinet

Not to be outdone and continuing this old-fashioned English tradition – My own kitchen dresser! Can you spot  Peter Rabbit?

The Parlour

The Parlour

It was a pleasure to view the rooms, see the fireplaces and furniture that were later drawn and replicated by Beatrix in some of her stories. I imagined Beatrix living here and writing  her little books; the little characters Tom Kitten, Samuel Whiskers and  Jemima Puddleduck were all created here. Thirteen of her books were written at Hill Top.

More little characters

Mr McGregor’s Gold Winner and the garden at Hill Top:  The Hill Top garden, that I don’t doubt was carefully planned, had a wonderful air of informality. 

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Strolling around the corner of the lane and bordering the grounds of Hill Top we came across a country hotel (Sawry House). A short time later we sat upon its garden terrace enjoying afternoon tea, whilst looking down from our hill, absorbing and appreciating the peaceful tranquility of the beautiful panoramic vista.

Sewry House Hotel


Amazing views looking down from the top of this hill

Another view from Sewby House

Another beautiful view from the top 

Sewry House hotel

Looking down on the garden deer from the edge of the terrace

Not wishing to create an even longer post than this,  I cherry-picked several snippets from the National Trust’s excellent and informative book abut Beatrix, from this, I wrote and uploaded my own document. It gives some fascinating facts about Beatrix’s life,  and if interested, it can be read here  More About Beatrix.

Visiting Hill Top and learning so much more about Mrs Heelis and finally writing about her has been one of my most enjoyable tasks and posts to date.

Apart from a couple of obvious pictures copied from the National Trust Book the photos shown here are my own.

© 2018 – In response to the photo challenge Top of the Hill from Weekly Prompts .

Previously related Posts: Ghost to Coast  –  Beatrix  –  Poor Old Mr McGregor .   

The Tale of Peter Rabbit   A Bedtime Story, a talking book created and told by me! 

26 thoughts on “Mrs Heelis

  1. Maureen Helen

    Thank you for this wonderful post, Sue. I loved reading every word, and the photos are magnificent. I will re-blog it on my site to share it with many people who will also love it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maureen, thank you so much for your lovely comments! I gained much pleasure from writing this one, Thank you also for the re-blog, so kind of you. 🙂


  2. Maureen Helen

    A real pleasure, Sue. However I got a message to say I couldn’t reblog it, so I will post it on FaceBook, which would also be good if all else fails. The message says ‘Nans Farm says this cannot be reblogged’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maureen, just to let you know that WordPress tested my settings and have successfully re-blogged Mrs Heelis. Unsure what went wrong previously.


  3. Maureen, I’ve checked the settings and all seems well. perhaps it might work on a second attempt.Thank you for trying, it’s appreciated.


  4. A fantastic post Sue, I thoroughly enjoyed your story line and all the glorious photos and slide show. Definitely one your most delightful articles, I’ve had the pleasure of viewing of yours….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Les, it was such a wonderful day, so interesting and we were so fortunate to have lovely weather, because as you know too well the weather in England is changeable!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That sounds about right! On our way back to our hotel we took a walk on the beach in the early evening sunshine and such a lovely way to end the day. Ten minutes later and back at the hotel the heavens opened!


  5. MNL

    Oh,I love Beatrix Potter. Thanks for sharing Hill Top. There was a mystery writer who did a series at Hill Top and the animals there who solve the mystery, of course. Fun reads. So I’ve always wanted to see Hill Top.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. By coincidence, Yesterday, the film Miss Potter popped up on one of the Sky TV channels. I dropped everything and spent a very pleasant Sunday afternoon curled up on the sofa watching it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. MNL

        I haven’t seen that. I like both Ewan and Renee though. Was it good? We have a used DVD shop nearby so I’m hoping it’ll pop there eventually.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It was excellent and appeared to stick to the facts. I might watch it again before it expires. Hope you find the DVD or it pops up on TV for you. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. What a delightful post, and what a delightful subject.
    I do believe that that fireplace /stove/oven would have been a coal burner originally, and I can imagine myself trying to cook on it;

    I’d never heard of Beatrice Potter until I was well into my 30s and regret missing out on growing up with her friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember more Enid Blyton from my childhood than anything else. I also remember my early childhood having a similar fireplace but with shelves as I recall. Thank youBrian. This day was one of our best days out to date.🙂


      1. The first book’s I recall were Edgar Wallace believe it or not and I’ve been an addict of that genre since reading his “On The Spot’. Before that of course it was ‘The Three Just Men’ and “The Four Just Men’. ‘Sanders of the river”, Boys books that I read as soon as I could read, never read Enid Blyton, they were for babies 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Looking back to my early years – I have no memory of been taken to a book shop or library. My books were gifts or borrowed from my cousins. I loved Enid Blyton and her Famous Five and Secret Seven books.
        At age eleven I had an early evening baby sitting slot for a neighbour. The father had shelves full of American detective novels that I was allowed to borrow. Happy days!


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