Places: Ivanhoe

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1819

Type of work: Novel

Type of plot: Romance

Time of work: 1194

Asterisk denotes entries on real places.

Places Discussed*Don River

*Don IvanhoeRiver. Tributary of the Humber River, which drains much of north-central England into the North Sea, described by Scott as soft and gentle. The town of Doncaster is on the upper Don River. The territory south of the Humber and east of the Don is a beautiful valley that includes on the bank of the Don south of Doncaster the Saxon castle of Conisbrough, which Scott uses as the backdrop for much of his story.

*Pennine Hills

*Pennine Hills. Mountain range that forms the backbone of England and marks the western boundary for the events in Ivanhoe. Warncliffe Park, mentioned by Scott, is the area around Warncliffe Crags, which is part of the Pennine Hill Range. The crags are above Stockbridge and northwest of Sheffield.


*Ashby-de-la-Zouche. Town in Leicestershire between Birmingham and Nottingham, where Ivanhoe enters the tournament upon his return from the Crusades. The area is used to create many of the action scenes of Scott’s novel.


Rotherwood. Fictitious castle home of Ivanhoe’s father, Cedric. It is probably based on the town of Rotherham, which is mentioned in chapter 20, in South Yorkshire near Sheffield. Because of this connection, Rotherwood figures often in the story.

*Sherwood Forest

*Sherwood Forest. Dense forest in northern England’s Nottinghamshire which is the scene of action involving Locksley–who becomes Robin Hood–and the location of Torquilstone, the imaginary castle of Front-de-Boeuf. The castle setting may have been the town of Harthill about nine miles southeast of Rotherham. The area contains the ruins of Middleham Castle, which may have been the model for Torquilstone. It is also the location of the Hermit’s cell where King Edward spends the night on his hunting trip.


*Templestowe. Castlelike structure known as a preceptory–a religious and educational house used in medieval times by the Knights Templer, who figure prominently in Ivanhoe. It is to Templestowe that Bois-Guibert flees from Torquilstone with his captive, Rebecca, and to which Isaac goes to negotiate his daughter’s release. Templestowe is about a day’s journey from Torquilstone.

BibliographyHayden, John O., ed. Scott: The Critical Heritage. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1970. A collection of reviews of many of Scott’s novels, including Ivanhoe. Also includes an extended essay on Scott by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and anonymous letters written to Scott about the novel.Hillhouse, James T. The Waverley Novels and Their Critics. New York: Octagon Books, 1970. A history of the critical reception Scott received. The first part offers early reviews from The Edinburgh, The Quarterly, Blackwood’s, and other periodicals, and the second part provides critical interpretations from the fifty years following his death.Johnson, Edgar. Sir Walter Scott: The Great Unknown. New York: Macmillan, 1970. An immense two-volume set that includes a synopsis and historical explanation of the characters and setting of Ivanhoe. Considers the differing treatments of Jews and Christians, and explains aspects of Scott’s views on the Catholic church, morality, and nobility.Lauber, John. Sir Walter Scott. Rev. ed. Boston: Twayne, 1989. Compares Ivanhoe with the other Scott novels and places it in the context of Scott’s entire oeuvre. Explains the stereotypes and the concept of chivalry.
Categories: Places