Patrick Brontë (1777–1861)
Born into poverty in Ireland, he won a scholarship to St John’s College, Cambridge, and was ordained into the Church of England. He was perpetual curate of Haworth in Yorkshire for forty-one years, bringing up four children, founding a school and campaigning for a proper water supply.
Although often portrayed as a somewhat fobidding figure, he was an opponent of capital punishment and the Poor Law Amendment Act, a supporter of limited Catholic emancipation and a writer of poetry.
In February 1837 Patrick chaired a meeting in Haworth so large it eventually had to take place in the open, calling for the Act to be repealed. Two months later he wrote a powerful letter to the Leeds Intelligencer pleading that the Act could not be tinkered with but must be repealed:
“It is a monster of iniquity, a horrid and cruel deformity”
he wrote, and followed Dickens in his indignation at the starvation diet prescribed for paupers:
“ We will not live on their water gruel, and on their two ounces of cheese, and their fourteen ounces of bread per day”
He imagined them saying. blackwellreference