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Halloway House was built in 1808 for linen draper, James Halloway. It was also the home of George Macdonald. . The Victorian author, poet and cleric George MacDonald lived in the house for 10 years from May 1871 and was at his most prolific as a writer while occupying the house. He wrote one of his best-known works, the fantasy novel 'At the Back of the North Wind' whilst living at the property. MacDonald was also a good friend and mentor to Rev Charles Dodgson (better known as Lewis Carroll) and it was thanks to MacDonald that 'Alice in Wonderland' was published. MacDonald had his wife read the story to his own 11 children to gauge their reactions and their positive response acted as great encouragement for Carroll.
As well as Lewis Carroll, Lady Byron acted as patron to MacDonald and the renowned art critic and social commentator, John Ruskin was a good friend. It is very likely MacDonald was visited by these literary greats whilst he resided at Halloway House.
Today the house bears a plaque to George MacDonald - not a blue one issued by English Heritage but a much rarer one that was unveiled in 1914 by local councillor, Coulson Kernahan in appreciation of the great George MacDonald and to celebrate the history of Halloway House.
References & Notes
- Leigh Kennedy