This is a blog about the Bronte Sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne. And their father Patrick, their mother Maria and their brother Branwell. About their pets, their friends, the parsonage (their house), Haworth the town in which they lived, the moors they loved so much, the Victorian era in which they lived.
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
Although Charlotte found some pleasure in the Welsh scenery, which she thought surpassed the English Lakes, the first part of the honeymoon was far from smooth. Her cold get worse and she started to be sufficiently ill.
Later she wrote to Miss Wooler:
""Fatique and excitement had nearly knocked me up. - and my cough was become very bad""
The tour included Conway, where the couple stayed at " a comfort-able inn". It was evening when Mr. and Mrs. Nicholls arrived at Conway, and they would not see much of the district except the old castle. Wales was an entirely new country to the bride, and its historic associations were sure to interest her. On the Friday morning they started for Bangor, and spent the week-end there. Neither Bangor nor Menai was the popular holiday resort each has since become. They were essentially Welsh, and Welsh was the language spoken. This beautiful spot in North Wales must have appealed to Charlotte Bronte, and it is pleasant to think of the novelist having so complete a holiday, for the honeymoon lasted for more than a month.
In July 1854 Kilkee was little more than a village of no more than 419 houses, ofwhich 314 were occupied, and a total town population of a little over 1,869.17 In summertime when visitors arrived the
population doubled, or trebled at most, depending then, as now, on the weather. On the evening of their wedding day, Charlotte and her husband journeyed to Conway, near Llandudno in Wales, and
She wrote: '...
DEAR ELLEN, I scribble one hasty line just to say that after a pleasant enough journey we have got safely to Conway; the evening is wet and wild, though the day was fair chiefly, with some gleams of sunshine. However, we are sheltered in a comfortable inn. My cold is not worse. If you get this scrawl to-morrow and write by return, direct to me at the post-office, Bangor, and I may get it on Monday. Say how you and Miss Wooler got home. Give my kindest and most grateful love to Miss Wooler whenever you write. On Monday, I think, we cross the Channel. No more at present. Yours faithfully and lovingly, C. B. N.'
Castle Hotel, Conwy, Wales. Charlotte Bronte spent her honeymoon here.
As the clock struck eight on that dim quiet June morning of 29-06-1854 Charlotte entered the church with Ellen and Miss Wooler. She was dressed simply in her white muslin dress with delicate green embroidery and matching short veil, a lace mantle and a white bonnet, trimmed with lace and a pale band of small flower and leaves.
The service was brief. Mr. Nicoll's friend, officiated.
Though Charlotte had insisted that there should be no fuss, Martha had raided the village gardens to decorate the house with bouquets and Ellen scattered flowers in the bride's honour at the wedding breakfast.
It was intended to be an exceedingly quiet affair; the Haworth people were not to know until the bride and bridegroom had set out on their honeymoon. It is not a matter of surprise to find that the news leaked out; the arrival of two of Charlotte Bronte's oldest friends, Miss Wooler and Ellen Nussey, in a coach on the afternoon of 28th June set the villagers guessing. The news of the wedding had slipt abroad before the little party came out of church, and many old and humble friends were there, seeing her look "like a snow-drop," as they say.
As the little wedding party left the church there was quite a group of the villagers anxious to see the wedding procession, and the remembrance of it was a life-long satisfaction to those privileged to see it. Mr. and Mrs. Grant, from the Haworth Grammar School, joined them at breakfast.
There was a party of eight present, including the old vicar. Martha Brown, in a simple black and white cotton gown a present from her mistress waited at the table, and her recollection was of a very happy time. Mr. Nicholls and his friends kept the conversation going.
When the carriage arrived at the parsonage gate the village was all astir to see the bride and bridegroom drive away, amid the good wishes of their friends. They drove the four miles to Keighley Station en route for Conway and North Wales, afterwards crossing to Ireland.
Ellen Nussey describes her as having “lively” conversations around the table with ,Mr Bronte and the children as we find from Ellen Nussys remembrance
“Miss Branwell was a very small, antiquated little lady. She wore caps large enough for half-a-dozen of the present fashion, and a front of light auburn curls over her forehead. She always dressed in silk. She had a horror of the climate so far north, and of the stone floors in the Parsonage. She talked a great deal of her younger days — the gaiety’s of her dear native town Penzance, the soft, warm climate, &c. She gave one the idea that she had been a belle among her own home acquaintance. She took snuff out of a very pretty gold snuff-box, which she sometimes presented to you with a little laugh, as if she enjoyed the slight shock of astonishment visible in your countenance. She would be very lively and intelligent, and tilt arguments against Mr. Bronte without fear.”
Ellen and Miss Wooler were brought over on the afternoon of 28-06-1854, in order to be present for the wedding next day. The long, summer afternoon and evening were spent together in the Parsonage. They packed the trunk with the new dresses from Halifax, laid out the white wedding dress with the veil and bonnet and prepared the wedding breakfast.
The house next to Brookes Meeting Mill was formerly the vicarage for Oxenhope and is one of the few houses in the area to retain its original features. It was originally built in 1840’s for Joseph BrettGrant, Oxenhope’s first vicar. Grant had previously been curate in Haworth, until Patrick Brontë appointed him to establish the new parish. He was a very active man, raising money to build the parish church, the vicarage and the national school. The story goes that he wore out 14 pairs of shoes in his travels seeking subscriptions and even succeeded in getting a donation from Queen Victoria. Brett’s energy, kindliness and dedication made him a popular figure amongst all villagers, not just the Anglicans. The exception however was Charlotte Brontë who rather unkindly portrayed him as the curate Mr Donne, a ‘champion beggar’ in her novel Shirley.
The 18 names on Charlotte's weddinglist received cards informing them of the marriage.
Reverend William Morgan, Cousin Joseph branwell, the Wheelwright family, George Smith, Mrs Smith and her children, Mr. Williams, Mrs. Gaskell, Richard Monckton Milnes, Francis Bennoch, six went to local Haworth residents, the Wooler and Nussey family.
The only persons to be present at the ceremony were to be Miss Wooler, Ellen Nussey, Mr Sowden who would marry them and Mr. Bronte.
Original Jane Eyre movie wedding costumes worn by Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska on display at ArcLight Hollywood
The date of the wedding was finally determind for 29 june.
Het wedding clothes were to come from Leeds but she deputed Ellen to choose the bonnet and dress she would wear- "something that can be turned to decent use and worn after the wedding will be best, I think."
Ellen choose wedding clothes that were both pretty and traditional. The bonnet was covered in white flowers, trimmed with greenery, and over it would go a white lace veil, with a motif of ivy leaves, which matched the border of the white muslin dress.
Charlotte' s own choise of clothing for the honeymoon, a heavy silk dress of brown and mauve, was the result of an expedition to Halifax, where she had some more dresses made up.
Charlotte ordered fifty wedding cards from Ellen, which displeased her on account of the gaudy amount of silver on them. She would have preferred the enveloppe to the perfectly plain with a silver initial. And then she found she should have ordered twice the number because of the Mr Nicolls' string of clerical friends.
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.
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.