A GENTLEMAN'S residence in the Yorkshire Dales that may have helped to inspire Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights is for sale.

Whernside Manor, at Dent, has nine bedrooms and more than four acres of grounds. On the market with agents Richard Turner & Son for £665,000, the colonial-style Grade II-listed house was home to the wealthy Sill family in the 18th century. They had large plantations on the Caribbean island of Jamaica, and folklore has it they brought slaves back to Dentdale as servants.

With its sweeping Georgian staircase, beautiful fireplaces and wine cellar, the property dates back to the 17th century and was formerly called West House.

Legend has it Emily Brontë based the character of Heathcliff, in her classic Wuthering Heights, on real events in Dentdale overheard while she was a pupil at school in Cowan Bridge.

The story goes that Mr and Mrs Sill adopted an orphan, Richard Sutton, but he was kept with their servants, rather than with their children. Both Richard and the fictional Heathcliff were taken in by well-off families and poorly treated, and Emily Brontë may also have intertwined another legend about the Sills' daughter falling in love with a black coachman.

Many years later, Whernside Manor was sold to the Army, and it was bought by the current owner around 25 years ago.