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

zondag 25 augustus 2013

""At home with the Brontes"" from Ann Dinsdale

With a lot of interest I am reading
""At home with the Brontes"" from Ann Dinsdale
I never realized that other families were living in the Parsonage
I knew about Rev. Wade, but
that children were born and people died in the Parsonage
is what I realise while reading this book
It is nice to read the history of these people
 and to read how they experienced the Parsonage
 John Wade 1861-1898
Thomas William Story 1898-1919
George Alfred Elson 1919-1925
John Crosland Hirst 1925-1928
 There was no official parsonage at Haworth until the arrival of Grimshaw’s successor, the Reverend John Richardson. The Parsonage, or Glebe House as it was known, was built of millstone grit, quarried from nearby moors.
After Richardson came Reverend James Charnock, and following his death, Henry Heap, Vicar of Bradford, nominated Patrick Bronte, Perpetual Curate of Thornton, as his successor.
Patrick moved in with his family in April, 1820, and the following year, his wife Maria died of cancer. In later years, Charlotte remembers her mother “in the evening light, playing with her young son Branwell in the Parsonage dining room”. Ann describes in detail the layout of the Brontes’ home, drawing on Charlotte and Patrick’s accounts of domestic life.
Patrick was succeeded by rectors John Wade, Thomas Story, George Elson – who was there when the first film of Wuthering Heights was shot in Haworth, drawing great crowds – and John Crosland Hirst. When the Bronte Society acquired the Parsonage in 1927, the Hirst family reluctantly left their home for a new rectory.
Harold Mitchell
Harold Mitchell, a 32-year-old ex-serviceman, was appointed first custodian for the museum, which was drawing around 4,000 annual visitors. Harold sold postcards and souvenirs in the old kitchen and his younger sons Trevor and Eric were born in the Mitchells’ living accommodation, separated by a glass-panelled door.
“Bringing up three boys in a literary shrine must have been difficult,” writes Ann. “Noisy games had to be curtailed and, from an early age, the boys were very conscious of what they called ‘the family next door’.” The family kept a pet owl in the kitchen, and Eric recalls meeting famous visitors at the museum, including Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles and Daphne du Maurier. One of his earliest memories was being photographed on the Parsonage steps with James Roosevelt, son of the American president. During the war, the Parsonage remained open – films such as the 1939 Wuthering Heights adaptation starring Laurence Olivier fuelled Brontemania – and troops stationed at Haworth Sunday school would use the Parsonage bathroom. In 1961, Harold Mitchell retired and new curator Geoffrey Beard moved into a flat behind the Parsonage with his young family. They lasted just 18 months, leaving the Bronte Society facing a security crisis.

Enter 30-year-old Joanna Hutton, who first visited the Parsonage as a child. Born into an acting family – her father, Arthur Brough, was Mr Grainger in Are You Being Served?
Living on the premises, Joanna was never off duty and visitors regularly turned up out of hours.
In 1968, Joanna left the Parsonage and set up the museum bookshop on Main Street. Her successor was Norman Raistrick whose appointment coincided with the busiest period in the museum’s history, thanks partly to 1970s TV programmes, including Blue Peter, filmed there. The house also appeared in 1970 film The Railway Children. thetelegraphandargus

news.google.com/dispute Johanna Hutton

Bronte Society Members outside the Parsonage in 1899
Raymond Mitchell pictured with animals at the back of the parsonage

In 1874 Wade added a new gabled North and West wing to the Parsonage including new fireplaces and removal of the old kitchen range. The back kitchen was demolished to make was for a large kitchen extension. The ground floor level was raised by several inches by laying a wooden floor over the existing flags in the study and dining room in an effort to make the house warmer. Wade put in new fireplaces and mantle pieces. The wainscot was removed and replaced by skirting boards. The whole staircase has probably been replaced at some point and the banisters have certainly been replaced.  brontesremembered

4 opmerkingen:

  1. I was amazed when I found out how many other families had actually called the parsonage home...seems odd, doesn't it?
    I haven't read this book yet but am looking forward to it.
    xo J~

  2. Fascinating history . The banister and outside steps I grant you, but the indoor steps look worn enough to be the same ones. They have that wave in the middle that very old worn stone steps get

    I think the family would approve of the Parsonage remaining a family home so many years into its museum life.That this part of its life , its home life, did not crease also right after it stopped being the current Parsonage.

    I know Emily would have approved of the owl! lol

    When someone lived there a link is maintained somehow.

    Indeed the evening light slants into the dining room just as Charlotte describes it.How light comes into the windows of a house it a real signature of a house and those who have lived in a particularly house learn the pattern. It takes living in it over time to learn it .

    If Charlotte had left out the part about the memory being made in the evening, a person who had lived in the Parsonage would have known it was in the evening by the way she describes the light

    Thank you for this wonderful post!

    1. Yes, the owl, Emily would have love it :-)

      Thank you both for your comment. For me this was completely new as well. I never thougt of other families living in the Parsonage. But as Ann Dinsdale writes: After reading this book one cannot else than thinking of more families living in this house.

  3. Hello, again :-)

    Great Blog as usual. The parsonage has had a fascinating history.

    We spoke a couple of years ago about Ferndean Manor and also the research i was doing about Branwell. Since then I have been given access to Joanne Huttons memoirs (mentioned in your article, the first female curator of the parsonage) together with her grandson we are writing a new history of the Bronte story as she reveals many revelations from her knowledge of them, the Bronte society and people who have tried to control the legacy. The memoirs and also an unpublished manuscript are very exciting and we hope the book will generate much discussion. In the mean time we are posting up little bits of research and a few teasers here.


    very best wishes



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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