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This is a day-by-day account of almost all of the events in Wuthering Heights, marking the days, chapters and times where possible. Few days in the novel can be determined exactly (these are marked with an asterisk) but, using an adjusted calendar, a feasible timeline can be made. Note therefore that most of the dates below are estimates made by me, and not actual dates from the novel. Information in italics in brackets are excerpts from the novel which help to determine the dates. The light brown italics beneath a day are notes from the novels about characters’ ages.
A timeline of the events in Wuthering Heights can be found on the timeline page
For notes on how I went about determining these, see the notes at the bottom of the page.
To see the calendars of all the years used in the story, see this page.
|Joseph||17 March 1730||—||—|
|Hindley Earnshaw||26 June 1757||24 September 1784||3 May 1777||27|
|Ellen Dean||10 August 1757||—||—|
|Frances Earnshaw||8 February 1760||15 September 1778||3 May 1777||18|
|Edgar Linton||17 January 1762||31 August 1801||12 March 1783||39|
|Heathcliff||30 July 1764||28 April 1802||25 February 1784||37|
|Catherine Earnshaw||28 May 1765||20 March 1784*||12 March 1783||18|
|Isabella Linton||14 October 1765||12 July 1797||25 February 1784||31|
|Hareton Earnshaw||10 June 1778||—||1 January 1803*||—|
|Cathy Linton||20 March 1784*||—||26 August 1801 and 1 January 1803*||—|
|Linton Heathcliff||14 September 1784||24 September 1801||26 August 1801||17|
|Age † = age at death
Reminder: while the years are pretty accurate, most of the dates above are estimates made by myself. Only the bold dates with an asterisk are indicated in the novel.
Tuesday 22 November 1801
Lockwood begins his story, writing in the evening of how he had visited Wuthering Heights earlier. He had arrived at Thrushcross Grange a few days before (he said he was "calling as soon as possible after my arrival" and Ellen already knows him when he returns). When he leaves the Heights, he says he will call again "tomorrow".
Wednesday 23 November 1801
Lockwood wakes at Thrushcross Grange. The afternoon is misty and cold. He has dinner between 12:00 and 13:00 and afterwards, because his room is being cleaned, decides to go to Wuthering Heights earlier than planned. When he arrives, it is still daylight but the table is laid for an evening meal. The night comes early (dusk would have been around 16:40).
Zillah escorts him to Catherine's old room around 21:00. He finds Catherine's Bible which is dated around 1776. He reads about an incident on a Sunday in October or November 1777 (when Mr Earnshaw is only recently buried) and falls asleep.
Lockwood estimates Heathcliff as about forty and Cathy as not yet seventeen.
Zillah has only been living at Wuthering Heights a year or two.
Thursday 24 November 1801
Lockwood wakes from his nightmare just before 03:00. He cannot return to sleep so he goes into the kitchen until daylight (which would have been about 07:15). When it appears, he leaves and Heathcliff escorts him to Thrushcross Grange. It is 12:00 as he enters and he says it took exactly four hours so he must have left about 08:00.
Lockwood relates the story of what happened the day before and in the morning (probably between about 13:00 and 16:00).
When Ellen brings him his supper (after 16:30), she begins to tell him the story of Wuthering Heights and Heathcliff.
Ellen says that she has been at Thrushcross Grange for 18 years, since Edgar and Catherine married.
Ellen pauses in her story at 23:00.
Friday 25 November 1801
Ellen ends her story at 01:30 and retires to bed. Lockwood also goes to bed an hour or so later.
Thursday 15 December 1801
Heathcliff sends grouse to Lockwood (shooting season finishes on 10 December) who is ill in bed. (Seven days before Ellen continues her story.)
Thursday 22 December 1801
As Lockwood lies ill in bed in the morning, Ellen continues her story. (Lockwood has been confined to bed for four weeks.)
Friday 30 December 1801
Lockwood continues the story, (one week on), relating what Ellen told him.
The story pauses, then continues.
Tuesday 10 January 1802
Lockwood finishes writing down Ellen's story (second week in January).
Thursday 12 January 1802
Lockwood visits Wuthering Heights at 11:00 to tell Heathcliff that he is leaving and gives Cathy a note from Ellen.
Friday 13 January 1802
Lockwood writes down the description on the visit to the Heights the day before.
Wednesday 27 September 1802
Returning to the north of England, Lockwood is passing close to Gimmerton when he decides to stay at the Grange instead of an inn (at 12:00). He reaches the Grange before sunset (which is about 18:30). As the sun is going down, he makes his way to Wuthering Heights and Ellen tells him the last part of the story.
Monday 10 August 1771
Mr Earnshaw leaves for Liverpool (on a fine summer morning at the beginning of harvest). He is gone three days.
Catherine is "hardly six years old".
Wednesday 12 August 1771
Mr Earnshaw returns about 23:00 with Heathcliff. Ellen is banished for leaving Heathcliff on the landing.
Heathcliff looked older than Catherine (who is six). Hindley is fourteen.
Saturday 15 August 1771
Ellen returns (a few days afterwards) and finds that Catherine and Heathcliff are already very close.
Saturday 6 May 1773
Mrs Earnshaw dies (less than two years after Heathcliff's arrival).
Friday 5 October 1774
Hindley is sent off to college.
Saturday 2 October 1777
Mr Earnshaw dies (October evening).
Monday 11 October 1777
Hindley returns for the funeral with his wife, Frances. He has been absent three years.
Sunday 21 November 1777
Heathcliff and Catherine are locked in the wash-house for an offence and are found missing at supper time. Late at night Heathcliff returns alone. They had escaped and gone over to Thrushcross Grange where it was dark or nearly so (twilight is about 16:30).
Isabella is eleven and Catherine twelve.
Monday 22 November 1777
Mr Linton pays a visit to Wuthering Heights to complain to Hindley about Catherine and Heathcliff.
Friday 24 December 1777*
Catherine returns to Wuthering Heights (she was at Thrushcross Grange for five weeks). It is Christmas Eve. Heathcliff remains absent from Catherine.
Saturday 25 December 1777*
Heathcliff rises early and vanishes onto the moors until the family go to church. Ellen smartens up Heathcliff until Hindley, Catherine, Edgar and Isabella return from church. Heathcliff is banished to the garret while everyone else has Christmas dinner. In the evening, the Gimmerton Band come around and there is a dance. Catherine crosses the roof to see Heathcliff.
Heathcliff is younger than Edgar.
Friday 10 June 1778
Hareton is born (in the morning of a fine June day).
Thursday 15 September 1778
Frances dies in the evening or night. Hindley begins to go into decline.
Monday 5 August 1780
Hindley goes away for the afternoon and Heathcliff takes the time off as well. He complains to Catherine that she spends more time with Edgar than him. Edgar arrives and has an argument with her but they make up and, when Hindley arrives back drunk, Edgar leaves after asking her to marry him.
Heathcliff is sixteen.
Hindley drops Hareton from the banisters and Heathcliff catches him. Catherine talks to Ellen and explains that Edgar had asked to marry her and she had accepted. Heathcliff runs away from Wuthering Heights. (It is a dark summer evening.) About midnight there is a storm which damages the kitchen chimney stack.
Ellen is twenty-two.
Tuesday 6 August 1780
Ellen goes to bed about 00:30 leaving Catherine crying over Heathcliff in the kitchen. Ellen comes down later than usual to a sunny morning. Catherine goes to her room and falls into a delirium and fever.
Monday 19 August 1780
Mr Linton dies of the fever.
Wednesday 21 August 1780
Mrs Linton dies of the fever.
Friday 12 March 1783
Edgar and Catherine marry (three years after his father's death).
Wednesday 17 March 1783
Ellen goes to live with them at Thrushcross Grange.
Hareton is nearly five.
Friday 24 September 1783
(It is a mellow afternoon in September. The moon is up.) Ellen comes upon Heathcliff in the Grange grounds. He had called at Wuthering Heights in the morning.
Saturday 25 September 1783
Catherine and Isabella visit Wuthering Heights where Heathcliff is staying. Isabella starts to fall in love with him during the following months.
Isabella is eighteen when she falls in love.
Saturday 8 January 1784
Ellen walks to Wuthering Heights in the afternoon and sees Hareton for the first time in ten months (since she left him).
Monday 10 January 1784
Heathcliff embraces Isabella. Heathcliff clashes with Edgar in the evening. Catherine retreats to her room for three days.
Wednesday 12 January 1784
Heathcliff is in the plantation with Isabella and tries to get her to elope with him.
Thursday 13 January 1784
Catherine unlocks her door and eats. Around midnight, still upset, she looks through the feathers in her pillow. It is just before midnight that Isabella elopes with Heathcliff.
Friday 14 January 1784
In the early hours of the morning, Catherine ponders on being back at Wuthering Heights. As Edgar comforts her, Ellen leaves and rescues Isabella's dog who has been hung up by Heathcliff. This is at 02:00.
Friday 25 February 1784
Heathcliff and Isabella marry.
Tuesday 29 February 1784
Edgar receives a note from Isabella announcing her marriage.
Friday 3 March 1784
Catherine leaves her chamber after her delirium (at the beginning of March).
Tuesday 14 March 1784
Heathcliff and Isabella return to Wuthering Heights. They stop at the edge of the Grange about 18:00 and arrive at the Heights after dark. Heathcliff spends six hours in the Grange grounds.
Wednesday 15 March 1784
Isabella sends a letter to Ellen in the morning who visits Wuthering Heights in the afternoon.
Sunday 19 March 1784*
Ellen gives Heathcliff's note to Catherine after the family have gone to church. Heathcliff and Catherine have their final meeting. Edgar returns to find Catherine has fainted.
Monday 20 March 1784*
Cathy is born just after midnight (of the 19th) and Catherine dies around 02:00. Just after sunrise (about 05:40), Ellen goes outside to see Heathcliff.
Tuesday 21 March 1784*
A little after dark, Heathcliff enters the Grange to see Catherine's body.
Friday 24 March 1784*
Catherine's funeral. Weather turns bad in the evening.
Hindley tries to stay sober for the funeral but fails. Isabella stays up late with him.
Saturday 25 March 1784*
Shortly before 01:00, Heathcliff returns and is locked out by Hindley. He breaks down the window partition and gets in, beating up Hindley. Isabella retires to her room. She comes down again at 11:30 and, shortly after, escapes while Heathcliff is fighting with Hindley. She flees to Thrushcross Grange and Ellen; after a rest, she leaves the area.
Thursday 14 September 1784
Linton born (a few months subsequent to Isabella's escape).
Sunday 24 September 1784
Hindley dies (scarcely six months after Catherine). Heathcliff leaves him in the afternoon and Hindley locks the doors against him. He spends the night drinking himself to death.
Hindley is twenty seven, the same age as Ellen.
Friday 29 September 1784
Heathcliff breaks in in the early morning and finds Hindley dead. Ellen goes up to Wuthering Heights to arrange the funeral.
Monday 1 July 1797
Edgar leaves to pick up Linton from Isabella.
Wednesday 10 July 1797
At 08:00, Cathy comes to Ellen to say that she is going off on a ride around the park as an 'Arabian merchant'. She leaves the Park and goes onto the moor. Towards evening, Ellen notices that she has not returned and goes off to Wuthering Heights to find her. They return to Thrushcross Grange.
Hareton is supposed to be eighteen although he was born in June and this is July so he is nineteen. Cathy is thirteen.
Friday 12 July 1797
Isabella dies, thirteen years after Catherine's death when Linton was twelve (or a little more).
Monday 22 July 1797
Edgar returns to Thrushcross Grange with Linton in the evening. After tea, Joseph arrives to take Linton to Wuthering Heights but it is too late in the day and Edgar says that he will have to wait till the next day.
Linton is six months younger than Cathy.
Tuesday 23 July 1797
Ellen wakes Linton at 05:00 to take him to the Heights. They arrive at 06:30 and Ellen leaves him there.
Saturday 20 March 1800*
On Cathy's sixteenth birthday, she goes onto the moor with Ellen. They comes across Heathcliff and Hareton who take them to visit Linton at the Heights. In the afternoon, they return to the Grange.
Linton is not yet sixteen.
Sunday 21 March 1800
Cathy reveals to Edgar her visit to the Heights. She is prohibited from more contact and tries to send letters.
Monday 25 October 1800
Ellen and Cathy go for some exercise in the park (an afternoon in October or the beginning of November). At the wall which skirts the grounds, Cathy climbs onto it and, when her hat falls off, climbs down the other side to retrieve it. There she meets Heathcliff who invites her to visit Linton while he is absent.
Ellen is forty-five in the book (but actually forty-three).
Tuesday 26 October 1800
Ellen and Cathy ride to Wuthering Heights to see Linton in the morning. At 12:00 they return to Thrushcross Grange.
Wednesday 27 October 1800
Ellen is confined to bed with a cold for three weeks. Cathy visits Linton.
Monday 15 November 1800
Ellen recovers from her illness enough to get up. In the evening, Ellen asks Cathy to read to her but she is restless.
Tuesday 17 November 1800
Cathy has another restless evening and apparently goes to bed with a headache. Ellen finds her absent and learns about her visits to the Heights. Ellen tells Edgar.
Wednesday 18 November 1800
Cathy is told by her father that she can no longer visit Linton at the Heights (although Linton could visit the Grange).
Friday 4 February 1801
Edgar ponders on Cathy's future and whether she should marry Linton.
Sunday 20 March 1801*
Cathy's seventeenth birthday. Edgar decides not to visit Catherine's grave. He writes to Linton.
Thursday 18 August 1801
Ellen and Cathy finally visit Linton again (summer is past its prime) but he is not well. Cathy promises to return in a week.
Thursday 25 August 1801
Ellen and Cathy visit Linton after a week although Edgar is growing worse (golden afternoon in August). Heathcliff appears and takes them to the Heights where he locks them inside until Cathy marries Linton. Around dusk (20:00), servants visit the house to enquire about Ellen and Cathy but are sent away. At 21:00, they go upstairs to Zillah's room for the night.
Friday 26 August 1801
At 07:00, Heathcliff comes to take Cathy away but leaves Ellen locked in Zillah's room. Cathy is married to Linton.
Tuesday 30 August 1801
In the afternoon, Zillah arrives to release Ellen. She rushes back to see Edgar who is close to death. Men are sent to the Heights to fetch Catherine but return without her.
Edgar is thirty nine.
Wednesday 31 August 1801
At 03:00, Cathy arrives at the Grange just in time to see Edgar who dies within the next half hour (harvest moon is up).
Saturday 3 September 1801
Linton is punished by Heathcliff for helping Cathy to escape.
Sunday 4 September 1801
Edgar's funeral. While the sexton is digging the grave, Heathcliff gets him to remove the side of Catherine's coffin.
Monday 5 September 1801
Heathcliff arrives in the evening to take Cathy to Wuthering Heights.
Tuesday 6 September 1801
During breakfast, Cathy asks if a doctor can be brought for Linton.
Thursday 22 September 1801
During the night, Linton dies.
Friday 23 September 1801
Cathy refuses to come down from her room (stays there a fortnight).
Sunday 9 October 1801
Cathy comes down from her room (Sunday afternoon, "a month and more" after arriving). Hareton tries to be kind to her but is spurned.
Thursday 17 November 1801
Ellen has a long talk with Zillah about what is going on in Wuthering Heights (six weeks ago in the narrative, a little before Lockwood came).
Tuesday 24 January 1802
Zillah leaves Wuthering Heights and Ellen goes to live there (within a fortnight of Lockwood's departure).
Monday 6 March 1802
Hareton has a hunting accident and is confined to the farmhouse (at the commencement of March).
Monday 3 April 1802
On the afternoon of Easter Monday, Cathy decides that she wants to be friends with Hareton and he responds.
Tuesday 4 April 1802
Before breakfast, Cathy persuades Hareton to dig up an area of Joseph's garden for flowers. They argue with Heathcliff at breakfast who sees Catherine in her face. Heathcliff leaves after breakfast and returns at dusk.
Joseph had been working at Wuthering Heights for sixty years. Hareton is twenty three and Cathy eighteen.
Monday 24 April 1802
Heathcliff leaves the farmhouse during the night.
Tuesday 25 April 1802
Cathy and Ellen sit under the fir trees in the garden in the morning and Heathcliff returns. At dinner (12:00), he does not eat his meal and acts odd. At 20:00, Ellen takes him some supper that he does not eat. He goes to bed in Catherine's old room rather than his. (We were in April then.)
Wednesday 26 April 1802
In the morning, Heathcliff sees visions while at the table. Then he leaves the house.
Thursday 27 April 1802
Heathcliff returns in the early hours of the morning. He does not go to bed and, at 04:00, talks with Ellen about his funeral. He retires at dusk.
Friday 28 April 1802
Heathcliff is heard talking during the early hours. He locks himself in and refuses to see the doctor. (Heathcliff possibly dies in the evening – see 29 April).
Saturday 29 April 1802
It rains till dawn (04:00). In the morning, Ellen sees Heathcliff's window is open from outside and she enters his bedroom to find him dead. His eyes cannot be closed suggesting he had been dead some time, probably the night before. (In chapter 33, stated as three months before Lockwood's return which would have been June). Hareton stays by the corpse all night.
Thursday 10 August 1802
Ellen meets a shepherd boy on the moor who has seen Heathcliff and Catherine's ghosts. (A month before Lockwood's visit.)
Monday 1 January 1803*
Cathy and Hareton due to marry.
*A date which can be determined exactly from the novel. Only four absolute dates are mentioned in Wuthering Heights:
The day that the young Catherine returns from Thrushcross Grange in chapter 6 is Christmas Eve but we can't be absolutely sure of her age so we don't know the year. If we accept the ages mentioned in the book, we can narrow it down to 24 December 1777.
From these dates, several others can be inferred. The six days leading up to Catherine's death are clearly marked and the day when Heathcliff clashes with Edgar and throws the hot apple sauce over him after Catherine's return must be Christmas Day.
With the aid of a calendar, other days can be plotted. Catherine is at Thrushcross Grange five weeks and she went there on a Sunday. Using the adjusted calendar (since 20 March 1784 is supposed to be a Monday), the day that she went to the Grange was Sunday 21 November. Many dates can be narrowed down to a month but no further (Hareton's birth was some day in June); sometimes to the early or later part of a month. Occasionally a moon phase will narrow it even more.
Generally I pick the days within the month at random as long as they conform to the book ― eg. when a person's age is mentioned at a particular time. Sometimes though I go for 'appropriate' dates ― Heathcliff's birthday is chosen as 30 July, Emily Brontë's birthdate.
Times of sunrise and sunset are given as civil twilight for the area around Haworth Moor. They wouldn't have used British Summer Time then and, before the coming of Railway Time in 1840, they would have had a local time which would have been quite loose, so the times are only approximate.