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

maandag 30 juli 2012

What connection has Burton Agnes with such famous names as Lewis Carroll (the pen-name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) Charlotte Brontë and William Wilberforce? The link, rather indirect but still valid, comes through St Martin's Church and the Old Rectory behind the Hall, not as grand as the hall but still a substantial building.

St Martin's Church in Burton Agnes
The Rev Charles Henry Lutwidge became Rector of Burton Agnes in 1833. Three years earlier he had married Anne Louisa Raikes, daughter of the wealthy and influential Robert Raikes, of Welton, who was patron of the living of Burton Agnes and conveniently appointed his clergyman son-in-law Lutwidge to the well remunerated position of rector. The Lutwidge's were well established in our area. Grandfather Charles Lutwidge lived in a fine house in Hull's smartest address, Charlotte Street (now incorporated into George Street), and held the prestigious post of collector of customs for Hull. His daughter, Francis Jane, married the Rev Charles Dodgson at Christ Church, which stood near the New Theatre but was bombed in the war and later demolished.  They were the parents of the author of Alice In Wonderland and the Rector of Burton Agnes was his uncle. Whether  (born 1832) ever visited Burton Agnes we shall never know but their dates overlap and he could, quite reasonably, have been taken there as a child on a family visit.
Lewis Carroll is always associated with St Mary's Church, Beverley. The White Rabbit drawn by John Tenniel for the original edition of Alice is identical to the one in Beverley. Again, there is no proof but it would have made sense for Carroll, a clergyman and enthusiastic photographer, to have visited St Mary's and pointed his camera at the carving. Uncle Charles at Burton Agnes took on a curate to assist him in his not too onerous duties: Henry Nussey, whose sister Ellen was Charlotte Brontë's best friend. 
Looking in a somewhat calculating way for a wife who could act as his housekeeper, Nussey proposed marriage to Charlotte Brontë. She promptly turned him down, fortunately as events proved by his later disastrous marriage and Charlotte's finding a more suitable husband, the Rev Arthur Bell Nicholls. William Wilberforce is forever associated with Hull, but the Burton Agnes link comes through his second son, Robert Isaac, born at Clapham in 1802. 
The house in High Street was William's birthplace but he did not live there as an adult. Through his father, Robert was brought up in the Evangelical tradition. It was at Oxford that he came into contact with High Church Anglicans, Keble, Pusey and particularly John Henry Newman, who influenced him in following their ideas and beliefs. Robert married Agnes, daughter of Archdeacon Wrangham, though it is recorded that he spent the first day of his honeymoon unromantically writing a book. After her early death he married her cousin. In his church life he prospered, becoming Lutwidge's successor at Burton Agnes in 1840 with the additional position of Archdeacon of the East Riding. This gave him important social standing in the area and he duly enlarged and Victorianised the Georgian rectory. He also embarked on a programme of alterations to the church, concentrating on the chancel in accordance with his religious inclinations, installing a stained-glass window at the east end and, as a tribute to his father, had his head and shoulders carved in stone. In 1853 his second wife died and he made the momentous decision to resign his living at Burton Agnes and become a Roman Catholic. Intending to be ordained, he went to Rome but died there of gastric fever in 1857. His famous father had died in 1833, but this visual reminder of the family link with Burton Agnes remains.
                                   Eastfield farm site of Ellen Nussey's house Easton
Eastfield Farm built in 1961 on the site of an earlier house was where Charlotte Brontë and Ellen Nussey came to stay in 1839. Ellen’s brother was curate at Burton Agnes and had proposed marriage to Charlotte, which she declined. The rector was Charles Henry Lutwidge, uncle of Lewis Carroll. travel/guide/yorkshirewolds

Whilst Charlotte Bronte and her friend Ellen Nussey were staying in Boynton in 1839, they came to visit friends and probably visited the church, where Ellen’s brother had been curate. He had proposed marriage to Charlotte which she declined. The rector was Charles Henry Lutwidge, uncle of Lewis Carroll. travel/guide/yorkshirewolds

—Emily Bronte - Wuthering Heights 

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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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