I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas: they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind.
Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights

zondag 2 augustus 2020

Cobblesstones of Haworth,

Haworth's Titanic Disaster.

SS London
                                                                      Foundered in the Bay of Biscay with about 230 souls, 11 January 1866.
                                                            Image from the John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland
This interesting story I received of J W Hartley who is living in Haworth

Next to the parsonage garden wall there is a tabletop gravestone that can only provide a memorial to one of the family members inscribed who remains missing but not forgotten. William Hartley was Haworth’s postmaster who sat on the committee of the Haworth Operative Conservative Society with Branwell Bronte and John Brown the church sexton. They were also friends and enjoyed a drink together, in fact William Hartley and his family are buried next to John Brown and his family. Reading the inscription on Willian Hartley’s gravestone gives an insight into a harrowing story of the time. 

His daughter Elizabeth Hartley worked as a maid for the Thomas family from Huddersfield. Her job as a maid offered up new and exciting opportunities as her employers the Thomas family were going to Australia and Elizabeth was invited to join them to continue her duties as maid or possibly for a holiday. She accepted the offer and on the 13th of December 1865 they boarded the Steam Ship London at the Gravesend Thames Estuary in Kent destined for Melbourne Australia and a new life. 
The Steam Ship London was a vessel of its time when technology moved in nautical engineering from wind power to engine power. This is evident in the ships design as it was a hybrid of both steam power and wind power combining three masts rigged with sails and a two hundred horsepower steam engine that alone could propel the ship at 9 knots. This made the ship fuel efficient as well as more reliable. The ship delayed by bad weather left England late on the 5th of January 1866 with 345 tons of iron for the railways, 263 passengers and crew onboard including six stowaways, with the experienced Australian navigator Captain Martin at the helm.
For the next two days the SS London encountered heavy seas and bad weather, so bad that on the 7th of January divine service was cancelled. For the next couple of days, the SS London ploughed into a gale under the power of steam at two knots in the Bay Of Biscay. On January the 9th the ship taking crashing seas over the bows and had a lifeboat washed away forcing the captain to turn around and return to England. 
Captain Martin was now unknowingly heading into the eye of a storm and on January the 10th still in the Bay of Biscay the sea carried away another lifeboat, the jib-boom, the fore topmast, all the rigs and gear leaving the SS London with steam power only. On January the 11th an immense wave crashed on deck leaving water pouring down the hatches and extinguishing the fires. The ship was now rolling badly and wallowing helplessly, and the captain made the decision to abandon ship. The remaining lifeboats launched were immediately swamped bar one saved for crew members. Their efforts to cover up the engine room hatches with anything they could and bail the water with pumps failed and as the water level in the engine compartment was still rising. Captain Martin told his men “boys, you may say your prayers”. Soon the SS London was sinking rapidly, and Captain Martin ordered Mr Greenhill the ships engineer and eighteen others into the last lifeboat telling him “your duty is done, mine is to remain here”. The captain was asked again to board the lifeboat, but he replied “NO! I will go down with the passengers, but I wish you God speed” he then threw a compass into the boat and shouted their course “North North East To Brest!”. 

The lifeboat drew away from the SS London as the passengers stood on deck singing the hymn Rock Of Ages and when the lifeboat got about 70 metres away the stern (back) of the SS London went under and the bows (front) rose high until the ships keel was visible throwing the passengers on deck into the water to be dragged down with the ship by the vortex. Greenhill and the eighteen others onboard the lifeboat were finally rescued by an Italian vessel, the Marianopole and taken to back to England.
There were just 19 survivors from the 263 passengers onboard with a death toll of 244 including Mr James Thomas, Mrs Sarah Anne Thomas, their two children Annie Mary Thomas and William Bradbury Thomas and their maid Elizabeth Hartley of Haworth. Other passengers onboard included Gustavus Vaughan Brooke a famous Irish Actor, John Debenham the son of the founder of Debenham department stores, the wife and three children of Henry Brewer Chapman an attorney general who introduced the secret ballot and John Woolley the first principal of the University of Sydney Australia. Frederick Chapman whose mother, brother and sisters were onboard the SS London when it sank to the depths in the Bay of Biscay wrote of his mother having just inherited “a mass of diamonds” from his Great Aunt Fanny that were with her on that fateful day.
An inquest found that the SS London was overloaded and with heavy cargo that blocked the scupper holes preventing drainage of seawater and made the ship too low in the water. The disaster received global publicity in its time with numerous accounts, survivor testaments, newspaper articles, a poem by William Mcgonagll and some artistic interpretations. The case drew the attention of Samuel Plimsoll who campaigned for compulsory standards in marine safety and in 1876 had the Plimsoll Line (a marking on the ships side specifying the maximum load) made compulsory for British ships. Samuel Plimsoll’s campaigning for the compulsory provision of lifeboats however was not introduced until the Titanic catastrophe of 1912 after Samuel Plimsoll’s death in 1898.
The newspaper Liverpool Mercury printed the following obituary on Tuesday the 25th of January 1866
THOMAS, HARTLEY, Jan 11th, lost at sea on board the steam ship London, James Thomas Esq, late of London, formally of Huddersfield, Yorkshire, together with Sarah Anne his wife and two children Annie Mary and William Bradbury, also Elizabeth Hartley, for many years a most faithful and devoted servant of the above.
Elizabeth Hartley’s memorial inscription on her family’s gravestone next to the Parsonage garden wall in St Michael And All Angels graveyard Haworth reads
Also the memory of Elizabeth their daughter who was lost in the Steamship London which was bound from London to Australia and foundered in the Bay of Biscay January 11th 1866 aged 37 years.

donderdag 2 juli 2020

Brussels square to be named after the Brontë sisters

Since 1979 Charlotte and Emily Brontë have had a plaque on Bozar, the central Brussels arts centre, commemorating their stay there in 1842-43. The building is on the site of the Pensionnat Heger where the sisters perfected their French. Since the creation of our Group in 2006 we have dreamed of a street, statue or museum in Brussels in honour of the Brontës; some of these schemes have even been discussed with the authorities, but until now none of them has materialised.

That is about to change. The municipal council of Koekelberg in the north-west of the city has decided to name a square after the Brontë sisters.

Why Koekelberg? This municipal district is known for its massive twentieth-century Basilica dominating the city’s skyline rather than for any Brontë associations.

However, Brontë fans will know that it was at a finishing school called Château de Koekelberg that Charlotte’s close Yorkshire friends Mary and Martha Taylor were studying during the Brontës’ time at the Pensionnat Heger. The school, more expensive than the Pensionnat Heger and beyond the means of the cash-strapped Brontës, was on a site near today’s Place Eugène Simonis/Eugène Simonisplein (both schools were demolished long ago.The Brontës made the two-and-a-half-mile walk to Koekelberg to visit their friends. Read more: Brusselsbronte 

dinsdag 24 maart 2020

Let's walk together. though Bronte County.

Hi people
How are you doing?
Everyone safe at home?

I found something very nice and interesting

Beside the walk above
There are much more walks to follow, sitting in our chair

Are you walking with me? 

vrijdag 14 februari 2020

Happy Valentine´s day.

Fair Ellen, Fair Ellen
Men call you fair, Ellen, and you deserve it,
For that yourself you daily do see:

But the greater fair of a gentle wit,
And virtuous mind’s more praised by me.
For all the rest, how ever fair it be,
Shall turn to nothing and lose its hue:
But your soul is permanent and free
From failures which with time ensue.
That is true beauty: that does show you,
To be divine, and born of heavenly seed:
Born of that fair Spirit, from whom all true,
And perfect beauty did at first proceed.
He only is fair, and fair Ellen He has made,
All other fair, like flowers, untimely fade.

William Weightman to Ellen Nussey, friend of Charlotte Bronte

Soul Divine
Oh soul divine, now learn to wield,
The weight of your immortal shield.
Place on your head thy helmet bright.
Ready your sword against the fight.
For see – an army, strong as fair,
With silken banners breaks the air.
Now, if you beat that thing divine,
In this day’s combat let it shine:
And show that you have all the art,
To conquer this resolvèd heart.

Away Fond Love
Away fond love, would I were steadfast as you are –
Not in lone splendour hung awake the night,
And watching, with eternal lids afar,
Like nature’s patient, sleepless hermite,
The moving waters at their silent task,
Washing these all too human shores,
Or gazing anew on a soft-fallen mask,
Of snow upon those oft trod moors.
No, stay – my steadfast unchangeable guest,
Could I but gaze upon my love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever by thy side and well,
Still, still to hear so near her tender breath,
And by a word live on – or swoon to death.

maandag 10 februari 2020

Charlotte Brontë’s bedroom in Elizabeth Gaskell's house.

The Bronte room is situated within the first floor of the original House at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, and is available for a large range of functions – e.g. board meetings, away-days, training sessions and presentations.

We know from the plans of the House that the guest room, and the room Charlotte Brontë slept in, is the one now used as a meeting room.
This is confirmed in a letter to Eliza Fox Elizabeth wrote in 1850: ‘ Your room will be over the drawing room, ours over the dining room…’ In Charlotte’s honour, this room has been re-named the Brontë Room – a fitting tribute we hope.

Elizabeth Gaskell met Charlotte Brontë on 20 August 1850 at Briery Close in the Lake District, introduced by Sir James Kay-Shuttlewoth and his wife. Charlotte stayed at Plymouth Grove with the Gaskell family on three occasions. The first was in June 1851 when she visited from the 27th to the 30th when according to Charlotte:

‘the weather was so intensely hot, and she herself so much fatigued with her London sight-seeing, that we did little but sit in-doors with open windows, and talk.’
She stayed again in April 1853, arriving for a week’s visit on Friday 22 April. With Elizabeth, she went to a performance of Twelfth Night staged by the Manchester Shakespeare Society at the Theatre Royal on 25 April which she mentions in a letter to Elizabeth written from Haworth on 9 July 1853.
Charlotte last visited Plymouth Grove in early May 1854 just before her wedding to Arthur Bell Nicholls on 29 June, and in a letter to John Forster written after Charlotte had left, Elizabeth expresses her concerns about the marriage

zaterdag 1 februari 2020

The Bronte Parsonage Museum reopened today with new treasures on display.

Maggie Gardener went to the Parsonage Museum and made these photographes

The Bronte Parsonage Museum reopened today with new treasures on display including Charlotte’s little book recently acquired at auction. A cuff worn by Charlotte embroidered by Anne and the Anne Bronte Bicentennial exhibition. ❤️

maandag 27 januari 2020

Close off the south path to Church.

John Huxley aan Worth Valley Contact Point

Haworth Parish Church regret that it has become necessary to close off the south path to Church for general public access. The recent prolonged rainy conditions, combined with the residue from the autumn tree leaf fall, has made the flagstones very slippery and risky to walk upon. Although we have tried treating the path, it remains very slippy and we're planning to remedy the situation with a deep clean when the weather improves in the Spring. We're sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

vrijdag 17 januari 2020

Today we celebrate the 200th birthday of Anne Brontë.

Anne, the youngest member of the Brontë literary family, was born on 17 January 1820. Anne was born in the small Yorkshire village of Thornton on 17 January 1820, the sixth and last child of the Reverend Patrick Brontë, and his  wife Maria.

When Charlotte's friend Ellen Nussey visited Haworth in 1833, she reported that Emily and Anne were "like twins", "inseparable companions".

She described Anne: "Anne, dear gentle Anne was quite different in appearance from the others, and she was her aunt's favourite. Her hair was a very pretty light brown, and fell on her neck in graceful curls. She had lovely violet-blue eyes; fine pencilled eyebrows and a clear almost transparent complexion. 

Anne is called "gentle" Anne
  • But Anne had a 'core of steel'. She was gentle, but also brave. 
  • She published a volume of poetry with her sisters (Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, 1846) and two novels. Agnes Grey, based upon her experiences as a governess, was published in 1847. Her second and last novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, which is considered to be one of the first sustained feminist novels, appeared in 1848. 
  • With her sister Emily she created "Gondal".

Here you can find all my posts about Anne Bronte: brontesisters/ANNE-BRONTË

donderdag 16 januari 2020

New book of Nick Holland: Crave The Rose: Anne Brontë At 200

From Nick Holland: The 200th birthday of the great Anne Brontëis is near, so I’m thrilled to say that my new book to mark this occasion, ‘Crave The Rose: Anne Brontë At 200’ is available right now from its publisher Valley Press, based in Anne’s beloved Scarborough, from Amazon or by ordering from your local book shop (even better if it’s an independent bookshop of course).
I don’t like to blow my own trumpet, but I’m really pleased with this book and as I know there are lots of Anne fans reading this book, I thought I’d briefly share details of Crave The Rose. It contains things never seen in a Brontë book before, and thanks to the team at Valley Press it looks absolutely beautiful too.
My book is in three sections, the first of which is a mini-biography of Anne Brontë over the course of nine chapters. Each chapter opens with an Anne Brontë poem that is relevant to that part of her life, and this biography contains new information that has come to my attention since I wrote ‘In Search Of Anne Brontë‘ five years ago.

The middle section looks at a recently discovered essay by Anne Brontë which has never appeared in a book before. The essay is included in full, and I also explain where the essay was found, how it was verified that Anne was the author, and why I believe that these are the final words that Anne Brontë ever wrote.

The final section also contains things that can be found in no other Brontë book, as we take a walk back to the nineteenth century archives and hear first person accounts of people who met the Brontës face to face in their everyday lives. It gives us real insight into what the Brontës were like, and many of the accounts are incredibly moving – and often very surprising too.

Nick Hollands "Anne Bronte 200 events" page.

My special Anne Bronte 200 website now has details on new Anne Bronte books and #AnneBronte200 events in Haworth, Bradford, Scarborough, Manchester and Brussels! 

On this page annebronte200/events we’ll be listing events celebrating Anne Brontë in 2020, and also news of publications relating to Anne Brontë and her sisters. If you have an event, or anything Anne related, you’d like me to publicise then please email me at annebronte200@hotmail.com.

With Anne’s big birthday just days away we are pleased to announce details of five Anne Brontë celebratory events – in Haworth, Scarborough, Bradford, Manchester and Brussels! Click on the individual pages to find out more!

We also have news of two very special Anne Brontë publications! There are also Anne related theatre productions coming soon in Huddersfield and Oldham – keep your eyes peeled for more details on this site soon

dinsdag 7 januari 2020

Undercliffe Cemetery Charity have launched a campaign to raise funds for a headstone on the grave of Nancy Garrs.

Nancy De Garrs also known as Nancy Garrs, was Charlotte Brontë’s nurse and is buried at Undercliffe Cemetery, in an unmarked grave. She was employed by Patrick Brontë soon after Charlotte was born in 1816 and served the family for eight years. Nancy and her sister Sarah looked after the six children as well as doing the household chores. After she left the Brontë household in late 1824 she married twice but when she reached her 80s she had no husband and no means of supporting herself. She was taken in at the workhouse. Her dying wish was that she didn’t want to be buried in a paupers grave, and after a campaign in the UK newspapers and the New York Times some money was raised. But it wasn’t enough to pay for a headstone. We hope to correct this and at the same time get Nancy’s contribution to the Brontë family recognised. 
Nancy idolised Patrick and never tired of talking about her time with the Brontës. Patrick, Charlotte and Emily sent her gifts and she treasured these. These were her Brontë relics. She didn’t want to part with them, but in desperate poverty she had to. The fate of some of them is known but there were some very important ones such as a photograph of Charlotte on glass, which has disappeared.
When Mrs Gaskell’s book on the life of Charlotte Brontë was published in 1857 it criticised Patrick along with Nancy and Sarah. She defended Patrick’s reputation and the book was changed. Nancy had saved Patrick’s reputation and she deserves to be remembered. Nancy was a loyal and faithful servant. When Nancy and Sarah left the Brontës the children they were in tears. Patrick gave them both £10 as a parting gift.
Help us raise the money for a headstone and for the cost of the groundwork so that Nancy can be remembered.

The Parlour

The Parlour



Charlotte Bronte

Presently the door opened, and in came a superannuated mastiff, followed by an old gentleman very like Miss Bronte, who shook hands with us, and then went to call his daughter. A long interval, during which we coaxed the old dog, and looked at a picture of Miss Bronte, by Richmond, the solitary ornament of the room, looking strangely out of place on the bare walls, and at the books on the little shelves, most of them evidently the gift of the authors since Miss Bronte's celebrity. Presently she came in, and welcomed us very kindly, and took me upstairs to take off my bonnet, and herself brought me water and towels. The uncarpeted stone stairs and floors, the old drawers propped on wood, were all scrupulously clean and neat. When we went into the parlour again, we began talking very comfortably, when the door opened and Mr. Bronte looked in; seeing his daughter there, I suppose he thought it was all right, and he retreated to his study on the opposite side of the passage; presently emerging again to bring W---- a country newspaper. This was his last appearance till we went. Miss Bronte spoke with the greatest warmth of Miss Martineau, and of the good she had gained from her. Well! we talked about various things; the character of the people, - about her solitude, etc., till she left the room to help about dinner, I suppose, for she did not return for an age. The old dog had vanished; a fat curly-haired dog honoured us with his company for some time, but finally manifested a wish to get out, so we were left alone. At last she returned, followed by the maid and dinner, which made us all more comfortable; and we had some very pleasant conversation, in the midst of which time passed quicker than we supposed, for at last W---- found that it was half-past three, and we had fourteen or fifteen miles before us. So we hurried off, having obtained from her a promise to pay us a visit in the spring... ------------------- "She cannot see well, and does little beside knitting. The way she weakened her eyesight was this: When she was sixteen or seventeen, she wanted much to draw; and she copied nimini-pimini copper-plate engravings out of annuals, ('stippling,' don't the artists call it?) every little point put in, till at the end of six months she had produced an exquisitely faithful copy of the engraving. She wanted to learn to express her ideas by drawing. After she had tried to draw stories, and not succeeded, she took the better mode of writing; but in so small a hand, that it is almost impossible to decipher what she wrote at this time.

I asked her whether she had ever taken opium, as the description given of its effects in Villette was so exactly like what I had experienced, - vivid and exaggerated presence of objects, of which the outlines were indistinct, or lost in golden mist, etc. She replied, that she had never, to her knowledge, taken a grain of it in any shape, but that she had followed the process she always adopted when she had to describe anything which had not fallen within her own experience; she had thought intently on it for many and many a night before falling to sleep, - wondering what it was like, or how it would be, - till at length, sometimes after the progress of her story had been arrested at this one point for weeks, she wakened up in the morning with all clear before her, as if she had in reality gone through the experience, and then could describe it, word for word, as it had happened. I cannot account for this psychologically; I only am sure that it was so, because she said it. ----------------------She thought much of her duty, and had loftier and clearer notions of it than most people, and held fast to them with more success. It was done, it seems to me, with much more difficulty than people have of stronger nerves, and better fortunes. All her life was but labour and pain; and she never threw down the burden for the sake of present pleasure. I don't know what use you can make of all I have said. I have written it with the strong desire to obtain appreciation for her. Yet, what does it matter? She herself appealed to the world's judgement for her use of some of the faculties she had, - not the best, - but still the only ones she could turn to strangers' benefit. They heartily, greedily enjoyed the fruits of her labours, and then found out she was much to be blamed for possessing such faculties. Why ask for a judgement on her from such a world?" elizabeth gaskell/charlotte bronte

Poem: No coward soul is mine

No coward soul is mine,
No trembler in the worlds storm-troubled sphere:
I see Heavens glories shine,
And faith shines equal, arming me from fear.

O God within my breast.
Almighty, ever-present Deity!
Life -- that in me has rest,
As I -- Undying Life -- have power in Thee!

Vain are the thousand creeds
That move mens hearts: unutterably vain;
Worthless as withered weeds,
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main,

To waken doubt in one
Holding so fast by Thine infinity;
So surely anchored on
The steadfast Rock of immortality.

With wide-embracing love
Thy Spirit animates eternal years,
Pervades and broods above,
Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates, and rears.

Though earth and man were gone,
And suns and universes ceased to be,
And Thou wert left alone,
Every existence would exist in Thee.

There is not room for Death,
Nor atom that his might could render void:
Thou -- Thou art Being and Breath,
And what Thou art may never be destroyed.

Emily Bronte

Family tree

The Bronte Family

Grandparents - paternal
Hugh Brunty was born 1755 and died circa 1808. He married Eleanor McClory, known as Alice in 1776.

Grandparents - maternal
Thomas Branwell (born 1746 died 5th April 1808) was married in 1768 to Anne Carne (baptised 27th April 1744 and died 19th December 1809).

Father was Patrick Bronte, the eldest of 10 children born to Hugh Brunty and Eleanor (Alice) McClory. He was born 17th March 1777 and died on 7th June 1861. Mother was Maria Branwell, who was born on 15th April 1783 and died on 15th September 1821.

Maria had a sister, Elizabeth who was known as Aunt Branwell. She was born in 1776 and died on 29th October 1842.

Patrick Bronte married Maria Branwell on 29th December 1812.

The Bronte Children
Patrick and Maria Bronte had six children.
The first child was Maria, who was born in 1814 and died on 6th June 1825.
The second daughter, Elizabeth was born on 8th February 1815 and died shortly after Maria on 15th June 1825. Charlotte was the third daughter, born on 21st April 1816.

Charlotte married Arthur Bell Nicholls (born 1818) on 29th June 1854. Charlotte died on 31st March 1855. Arthur lived until 2nd December 1906.

The first and only son born to Patrick and Maria was Patrick Branwell, who was born on 26th June 1817 and died on 24th September 1848.

Emily Jane, the fourth daughter was born on 30th July 1818 and died on 19th December 1848.

The sixth and last child was Anne, born on 17th January 1820 who died on 28th May 1849.

Top Withens in the snow.

Top Withens in the snow.



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