A unique History and an inspiration
The George as it was originally known is believed to have been first built in the fourteenth or fifteenth century. At that time it would have been an alehouse serving the packhorse trains trudging between the quarries of Castleton and the foundries of Sheffield. They deposited the metal wrought in Sheffield to be made into buttons and needles at England's first needle factory in Hathersage. Traffic between there and Sheffield became such that in the 1700's a turnpike had to be built, and it was around that time that 'The George' came to be called an 'Inn'.
The first recorded owner of the George was the Duke of Devonshire, who sold it to one James Eyre in 1839; in 1841 it was acquired by James Morton, who must have developed his hostelry significantly, for a writer of the day appears to have been the first to refer to it as an 'Hotel'. Perhaps as a consequence of that another writer, the since acclaimed Charlotte Bronte, whilst visiting friends in Hathersage vicarage became a familiar patron at the George. Indeed she was evidently so enchanted by Hathersage that she used it and its characters as models for one of her books, Jane Eyre. Charlotte Bronte based the name of her heroine Jane on the Eyre family who previously owned the George, and set her story in Hathersage, renaming in Morton after James Morton the George Hotel's Landlord. Coincidently but more recently, the present owner of the George, Eric Marsh, a tenant of the Duke of Devonshire's estate appeared in the 1995 film Jane Eyre shot on location in the Peak District.
A succession of individual proprietors operated the George until 1876, when local Sheffield brewery Tennants acquired it (for £700), and it was held by them and their parent company Whitbreads until it was purchased by the present owners in 1996. At that time the entire hotel was completely renovated, whilst its original character was preserved by tasteful retaining of stone walls, oak beams, open fires and antique furniture.