Rev. Arthur Bell Nicholls had been born in Northern Ireland (as had Charlotte's own father) but he was orphaned early and with his brother brought up and educated by his uncle, Dr. Alan Bell, at the Royal School housed in Cuba Court, Banagher. The school turned out several distinguished men, including Sir William Wilde, father of the famous playwright Oscar Wilde (Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde) of Dublin.
Most of the Bell males were scholars at Trinity College in Dublin, as was Arthur. Arthur's brother managed the Birr Canal. The Bells were all well-respected and known for their excellent sense of humor and their "way with dogs."