Uncle Haythornthwaite

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We have it on the authority of Christopher Drawlight that Mr Norrell is indebted to his uncle Haythornthwaite for his wealth and lands: "He had an old uncle called Haythornthwaite who died and left him a world of money."[4]

Mr Drawlight's information is not always so accurate as he likes to imply but he may be correct here, for Haythornthwaite is certainly a northern name. (It means something like "the clearing among the hawthorn trees.") Mr Norrell's mother perhaps might be a Miss Haythornthwaite before her marriage - though of course it may be that in his eagerness to spread gossip Drawlight has only seized upon part of the truth: Haythornwaite might equally well be a name that came into the Norrell family from an ancestress and was handed down as a forename. The practice is common.

Lastly, it may also be that Mr Norrell's wealth came from another source entirely, and that he merely allowed it to be assumed that he had inherited his great fortune from a benevolent relation.