Places: The Hound of the Baskervilles

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: serial, 1901-1902; book, 1902

Type of work: Novel

Type of plot: Detective and mystery

Time of work: Late nineteenth century

Asterisk denotes entries on real places.

Places Discussed*Baker Street

*Baker Hound of the Baskervilles, TheStreet. London street at whose imaginary 221B address Holmes and Watson share lodgings. There, visitors are admitted by Mrs. Hudson, the landlady who lives on the ground floor and takes them upstairs to Holmes and Watson’s sitting room. The novel opens with the house being watched during the visit of Dr. Mortimer, a concerned neighbor of Sir Henry Baskerville.

Baskerville Hall

Baskerville Hall. Ancestral Devonshire home of the Baskerville family, located on the edge of Dartmoor, a wild, rugged area in the south of England. Baskerville Hall is fourteen miles from Princetown, which is best known for is proximity to the high-security prison of Dartmoor, from which the convicted murderer Selden escapes. The hall is approached through ornate wrought iron gates at the end of a tree-lined drive that opens out onto an area of turf. The central and original part of the house has two towers that indicate the house’s age, as they are crenellated and have loopholes. The inside of the house also indicates an age going back to Tudor times; it has a large, high-ceilinged central hall raftered with age-blackened oak. The room also has a large fireplace and oak paneling and is illuminated by high windows set with stained glass depicting family coats of arms. A gallery running around the hall is reached by a double stair. The narrow, dimly lit dining room that opens from the hall has a raised dais at one end, where members of the family dine; in earlier times, their dependents would have dined on the lower level. At one end of this room is a minstrels gallery. The walls here are adorned with family portraits, including one that provides Holmes with the clue to the identity of the villain.

Baskerville Hall has been recently expanded and has wings on each side of the original house constructed from granite blocks, with high chimneys and high, angled roofs. The bedrooms in one wing are reached from the gallery off the central hall. The room in which Watson stays overlooks the front lawn and has views of the moor beyond. The other wing is not occupied, except when Barrymore uses an empty room to send secret signals to Selden.

The grounds of Baskerville Hall contain a long yew alley, in which Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead. The thick yew hedges are twelve feet tall and eight feet apart. There is a central gravel path with grass on either side running from the house to a dilapidated summerhouse at the far end. About half way down the alley a four-foot-high, white-painted wicket gate gives access to the moor. It is kept padlocked.


*Dartmoor. Wild, sparsely inhabited part of southern England Devonshire region that is dotted with steep rocky peaks and valleys. Sheep and ponies roam freely, and the hillsides are covered with heather, bracken, and gorse. In autumn–the season in which the novel is set–the moors are bleak, and the weather can quickly change, covering the moors with thick fog. The novel describes the hillsides as covered with stones circles, the remains of numerous Neolithic hut circles. The novel’s stone circles are both more numerous and larger than the real Neolithic circles found in that region of England.


Grimpen. Hamlet on the edge of Dartmoor, four miles from Baskerville Hall that contains only two large buildings–a public inn and Dr. Mortimer’s house, which stands on the hillside above the rest. Also close by is Lafter Hall, the home of Mr. Franklin, whose rooftop telescope is instrumental in tracking the comings and goings of people on the moors.

Merripit House

Merripit House. Home of Stapleton and his sister. Located near Grimpen, it is reached along a narrow grass track from the road between Grimpen and Baskerville Hall. It was once a farm and is surrounded by an orchard of old, stunted trees. Outwardly, it appears to be as bleak as its surroundings, but inside it is elegantly furnished. Not far away is Grimpen Mire, a treacherous part of the moor, which looks green, but whose bright patches mask bog holes which can swallow a man. Mr. Stapleton discovers a path running through the moor that leads to Grimpen Mine, where the hound is hidden.

BibliographyCarr, John Dickson. The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. New York: Harper, 1949. Includes a chapter that examines the genesis of the idea for The Hound of the Baskervilles.Ferguson, Paul F. “Narrative Vision in The Hound of the Baskervilles.” Clues 1, no. 2 (Fall/ Winter, 1980): 24-30. Explores the contrast between Watson’s “artistic imagination” and Holmes’s “scientific imagination.”Hall, Trevor H. Sherlock Holmes and His Creator. London: Gerald Duckworth, 1978. Examines Holmes as he relates to Doyle’s life and era. The comments on The Hound of the Baskervilles are more descriptive and appreciative than critical.Jaffe, Jacqueline A. Arthur Conan Doyle. Boston: Twayne, 1987. Examines Doyle as a literary figure, considering his oeuvre as a whole and exploring it from within the context of his biography. The comments on The Hound of the Baskervilles, as on the other Holmes stories, are the best available for a serious student of the subject.Pearsall, Ronald. Conan Doyle: A Biographical Solution. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1977. Provides a useful discussion of The Hound of the Baskervilles from the point of view of a Holmes enthusiast and student of the mystery story.
Categories: Places