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

woensdag 6 april 2011

At Ponden Hall and Cowan Bridge

At Ponden Hall and Cowan Bridge THE world’s most famous literary sisters inspire fanatical devotion but Julie Akhurst and Steve Brown only realised how besotted Brontë lovers can be when they bought Ponden Hall.“We regularly find people weeping in the front garden. It’s quite extraordinary but I can understand it,” says Julie, whose home is said to have been the inspiration for Wuthering Heights. Its links with both Emily Brontë and one of literature’s best-loved novels are both powerful and verifiable. Emily and her family were regular visitors to Ponden Hall and would walk across the moor to the Heaton family home. Branwell Brontë’s short story The Thurstons of Darkwell is based on it. The Heatons, who owned nearby Ponden Mill, also had what was reputed to be “the best library in the West Riding” and Emily certainly used it. Although the Victorian portraits make her look severe, the dark-haired, intense woman is said to have captured the heart of one of the Heaton boys. She spurned him, but in the back garden of Ponden Hall are the withered remains of a now-dead pear tree, supposedly the gift of the lovesick teenager to the older woman. “Fans love to see that too,” says Julie, who is selling the house after 13 years. “It’s a link with Emily. They can picture her here and that’s very affecting. There is something about her that makes people very emotional. [...]There is some debate over whether Ponden Hall inspired Heathcliff’s domain, Wuthering Heights, or Thrushcross Grange, the grander home of the fictional Linton family. Many people, including Julie and Steve, believe it is Wuthering Heights, although there is another contender for that title – Top Withens, a ruined farmhouse with a wilder setting that looks the part, but has no recorded Brontë connection.“We’ll probably never know for sure and it was all from Emily’s imagination. But this house is much more like Wuthering Heights. It is a much more humble dwelling than Thrushcross Grange. Plus the date plaque above the main entrance identifies the hall as being rebuilt in 1801 and Emily’s story starts with that exact date,” says Julie. There is another important clue in an account by William Davies, who visited Emily’s father Patrick Brontë and wrote: “We went on to an old manorial farm called ‘Heaton’s of Ponden’, which we were told was the original model of Wuthering Heights, which indeed corresponded in some measure to the description given in Emily Brontë’s romance. ”For fans of the book, the most evocative part of the property is the tiny east gable window in the master bedroom. It is said to have given Emily the idea for Cathy’s ghost, scratching and crying at the pane to get in.“It’s plausible because there was a box bed beside it at one point and that is just how it is described in Wuthering Heights,” says Julie, a former deputy editor of OK magazine, who bought the hall in 1998 when she moved up from London to marry Steve, a builders’ merchant from Bradford.“We saw a three-line private advert for it in a newspaper and came up even though it was out of our price range. I’ve always been fascinated by the Brontës and as soon as we saw it we had to have it. The owner Brenda was lovely. She had blue hair and ran it as a B&B and yoga centre and did teas for walkers, but it really was in need of renovation.”Ponden Hall was built in 1634 by the Heatons and as their fortunes flourished they modernised, added and rebuilt to suit their status.The family eventually dwindled to a bachelor who died in 1898, after which the contents of the house were sold off. Books from the library were reputedly hawked in the market in Keighley. What didn’t sell was torn up for vegetable wrappings and mystery still surrounds what happened to a Shakespeare First Folio, one of the world’s rarest books worth millions.The property was then used by farmers before Brenda bought it in 1975. She played host to Juliette Binoche, who stayed there with her voice coach rehearsing for her role as Cathy in the ill-fated film version of the book, and Sir Cliff Richard who visited before playing Heathcliff in the short-lived musical. [...]Unlike the fictional Wuthering Heights, Ponden Hall feels friendly and warm. “We’d never have bought it otherwise. It’s always felt welcoming,” says Julie. She and Steve are selling to move closer to their daughter’s new school.“I’ll miss it. I love it for what it is and the little hamlet here is lovely. I’ve also enjoyed the Brontë connection. We’ve always been happy to show people round by appointment and we’ve had people from all over the world including the Japanese ambassador to the United Nations,” says Julie. “I just hope it sells to someone who loves the Brontës as much as I do.” (Sharon Dale)

1 opmerking:

Parsonage

Parsonage

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).

Parents
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.

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