Wayne Manor began as the simple home of railroad financier Jerome K. Van Derm in 1855. Soon after, Van Derm had to give up the property to the brothers Solomon and Zebediah Wayne in 1858. Solomon Wayne, a judge, worked hard to preserve equality in Gotham and said that the city should be a "fortress against vice and iniquity". Solomon expanded Wayne Manor to its present size and acted as the first Wayne who turned it into a manor. They later used it as part of the Underground Railroad and sheltered escaped slaves who fled north to Canada. According to Alfred, Wayne Manor was home to six generations of Waynes.
Although there was a vast network of limestone caverns that ran beneath the manor, Martha Wayne filled the house with warm furnishings and flowers from the Greenhouse. Many of the antiques in the estate had been passed down through multiple generations, such as the Mahogany Furniture.
The current members of the Wayne family at the time of Batman Begins were Thomas Wayne, his wife Martha, and their son, Bruce. Alfred was the family's butler, and Rachel Dawes lived on the estate with her mother, the housekeeper.
One day, while playing in Wayne Manor's Garden with Rachel, Bruce fell down the old well into the caverns below. There, he faced what became both his greatest fear and most valuable ally: the bat. Frightened out of his wits, Bruce was comforted by his father, who was lowered down on a rope that was anchored by Alfred, the two adults who were alerted to Bruce's fall by Rachel. That night, Bruce had a nightmare about the bats, which caused his father to come soothe him and explaining to Bruce: "They attacked you because they were afraid of you. All creatures feel fear, especially the scary ones." It would be the last time that Thomas and Martha left Wayne Manor alive.
After the murder of his parents, Bruce felt guilty beyond imagination. As he remorsefully told Alfred: "It was my fault, I made them leave the theater. If I hadn't gotten scared..." Alfred, however, comforted Bruce, and told him: "It was him, and him alone".
When Bruce returned to Wayne Manor before the hearing of Joe Chill, Alfred told him that he had prepared the Master Bedroom, but Bruce replied that he'd rather stay in his own room. When Alfred tried to explain that this was his home, Bruce snapped angrily: "This is my father's house, and now that he's dead, it's a mausoleum! If I ever have my way, I'll tear the damn thing down, brick by brick!"
When Bruce returned to Gotham City after his training with the League of Shadows, he was informed by Alfred that William Earle became head of Wayne Enterprises, declared Bruce dead, and attempted to gain control of Bruce's shares of the company's stocks. Earle also turned the company into an arms manufacturer and accepted contracts from military projects. While reading the paper in the living room about Gotham's current state, Bruce saw a bat flying in the corner near the ceiling. It was at that moment that Bruce realized that being afraid of a bat was like being afraid of a ghost, a wraith. After he gathered the proper equipment, Bruce cleared the weeds that blocked the well that he had fallen down as a child, and ventured into the caverns. There, he was swarmed by bats, but that time, Bruce realized that there was nothing to be afraid of. Thus, the caverns below became the Batcave.
During Bruce's 30th Birthday Party at Wayne Manor, Bruce received an unexpected guest--Henri Ducard, his mentor in the League of Shadows, who revealed himself to be the true Ra's al Ghul. After he faked a drunken rant in order to protect the guests and made them leave, Bruce was left alone with Ra's and his warriors from the League. As his men started a fire in the manor, Ra's explained his plan to Bruce: Scarecrow's Fear Toxin was made from the League's blue poppies, and, using that toxin, the League would poison the entire city. The compound had already spread throughout the city via the water; all that was left was to turn it into gas by using the city's monorail train system in order to transport the Microwave Emitter that was stolen from Wayne Enterprises into Wayne Tower, the center of the water mains, and cover the entire city in poison. As Bruce attempted to fight him off, Ra's warned Bruce that he had failed to mind his surroundings, and a pile of burning debris then fell on Bruce. Ra's then left Bruce to burn, with a guard that made sure that no one came out alive. However, Alfred sneaked up behind the henchmen, knocked him out with a golf club, rescued Bruce, and got them both into the secret elevator into the Batcave just in time.
After finally he defeated Ra's, Bruce and Alfred returned to the ruins of Wayne Manor, with Alfred supervising the construction workers. Rachel then arrived at the scene, and told Bruce that his real face was the one that criminals feared, and that the man that she loved never really came back, but one day, when Batman was no longer needed, she might see him again. After Rachel left, Alfred told Bruce that they might be able to "improve the foundation", which meant the South-East corner, where the Batcave was located.
Wayne Manor was still being rebuilt. As a result Bruce temporarily set up the Batcave in a hidden bunker beneath a shipping container at Wayne Enterprises' dockyard and used it to fight off the Joker. After he finished the Joker, Batman takes the blame for Harvey Dent's death and Commissioner Gordon named him the prime suspect for the crimes that Harvey committed in order to make Harvey look like a hero. Batman then evaded capture by the police for the next eight years.
Eight years after Batman retired, Wayne Manor was rebuilt, Bruce once again resided there, and was sealed off in the East Wing. Bruce became a recluse after the chaos caused by the Joker and the death of Rachel.
During the Eighth Anniversary of the Dent Act, which put the majority of criminals in Blackgate Prison, The Wayne Foundation hosted a charity event at the manor. Bruce watched from the manor and skipped participating in the celebrations. As that happened, a maid, later revealed as Selina Kyle, stole Bruce's mother's pearl necklace from his private quarters. Bruce then sneaked up behind Selina and confronted her, but she overpowered him and escaped with the necklace.
During an investigation of the safe, Bruce discovered that the real target was his fingerprints and not the necklace. Bruce then returned to the Batcave for the first time in years and ran an analysis, only to be confronted by Alfred who asked him to return to life. John Blake arrived at the manor, a few days later, and demanded to speak with Bruce. Blake told Bruce about the attack on Gordon and revealed to him that he knew that Bruce was actually Batman. Blake then warns Bruce about another threat known as Bane and asked him to return as Batman.
After Bruce returned as Batman, that prompted Alfred to leave Bruce alone in the Manor in order to try to persuade him to stop being Batman. That same day, Wayne Enterprises went bankrupt, but Bruce was allowed to keep the Manor. That night, Miranda Tate visited Bruce at Wayne Manor, and the two shared an intimate night. Bruce left afterwards, donned the Batsuit, and fought Bane. He never returned to Wayne Manor afterwards.
Thomas and Martha Wayne home
By the end of The Dark Knight Rises, after the supposed death of Bruce, Wayne Manor was deeded to Gotham, transformed into an orphanage, and maintained by them on condition that it remain the children's home.
Behind the scenes
- Both the interior and exterior scenes of Wayne Manor in Batman Begins were filmed at the former Rothschild Estate, Mentmore Towers in Buckinghamshire, England.
- For The Dark Knight Rises, Wollaton Hall in Wollaton, Nottingham, England served as Wayne Manor. In reality, Mentmore Towers was a near perfect replica of Wollaton Hall built decades later.