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  • Reason for inclusion: Birlstone Manor in the story.

    Accessibility: Gardens open to the public but not the house. Please check website.

    Description: A 17th century moated manor house with sculpted formal gardens and 200 acres of parkland.

    Comments: Conan Doyle was a frequent visitor to Groombridge through his friendship with the owners Louisa and Eliza Saint, who shared his interest in spiritualism. He attended seances in the house and his description of the house and gardens in the story bears many similarities to Groombridge. In January 1955 James Montgomery revealed the existence of a dedication by Conan Doyle on the title page of a copy of The Valley of Fear which stated that Groombridge House ‘is the old house herein described’, thereby placing the attribution beyond doubt.

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