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

donderdag 5 december 2013

On this day in 1809

Patrick Bronte began his curacy at Dewsbury
What brought Patrick Brontë to Dewsbury in the first place? Amateur local historian Graham Hardy explains that back in 1809 it seems that he was facing a choice between working in the West Riding or the much warmer climes of the West Indies. Perhaps surprisingly, Patrick chose Dewsbury! Why he made that decision to come here we'll perhaps never really know, but Graham believes it could be because Patrick and others believed it was fertile ground for 'spreading the word' of the Gospel: "They regarded Yorkshire - which was just going through the throes of the Industrial Revolution at that time - as The Promised Land, the land where they were going to save souls."

It wasn't long before Patrick Brontë made his mark on Dewsbury, according to Graham. He says there are many tales told about this young curate who certainly lived up to his reputation as "clever and good-hearted, but impetuous and hot-tempered" - as one Dewsbury lawyer described him at the time. Graham says: "There was the occasion when a drunk tried to stop a Sunday School procession and Patrick Brontë unceremoniously threw the drunk into the ditch at the side of the road. There was also another occasion when Patrick was doing his Sunday evening meditation in the old vicarage by the side of the Minster and the church bell ringers decided to have an extra practice. Patrick was so upset about this that he seized his shillelagh [a large stick], dashed up to the belfry and actually drove them out!" And Denis Ripley adds that as well as saving souls, Patrick also saved someone's life: "He was walking along the River Calder and he met a group who were acting silly. One boy pushed another into the river. Now, in spite of the fact that he couldn't swim, he jumped in and saved the boy. It was quite a famous incident."
"It was as a result of him coming here that the Yorkshire connection was launched and became famous worldwide!"
Denis Ripley on Patrick's legacy
Patrick Brontë was clearly no shrinking violet, but he was also - even in his early days in Dewsbury - a man of influence who wanted to right any wrongs which took place in the town. Graham explains: "There was a young man called William Nowell who was the victim of a miscarriage of justice. It was claimed by another young man that William had enlisted in the army at Lee Fair - a gathering just outside Dewsbury. William denied this...but he was hauled before the magistrates and flung into prison as a deserter. Patrick was very upset about this so he got together some of the prominent members of the town, credible witnesses, and he wrote to Lord Palmerston, who was Secretary of State for War but who Patrick had known at Cambridge. Palmerston intervened, as well as [social reformer and anti-slave trade supporter] William Wilberforce. Between them the case was reviewed, William Nowell was freed and the chap who'd given the false evidence was transported to the colonies!"
Graham Hardy says that as curate, Patrick Brontë was also well-known for travelling to all corners of his Dewsbury parish in an effort to spread the word on people's doorsteps: "He used to go around to people's houses and he used to preach there. In those days, of course, most churches in the outlying districts like Hanging Heaton, Dewsbury Moor and Batley Carr hadn't even been built. The Dewsbury parish was quite big so there were often important meetings held in people's houses."
It's obvious, then, that Patrick Brontë was an important figure in his own right - never mind the fact that his time in Dewsbury firmly established the roots of the Brontë family in West Yorkshire.

1 opmerking:

  1. Good to see Patrick getting some well deserved attention...A remarkable man indeed. It's wonderful how he saved that young man

    The interesting thing about the West Indies.and also missionary work in in India...another warmer climate, in Jane Eyre they are shown as equaling death ....Jane's Uncle in the Indies and then St. John Rivers in India ....both find death in these places...so perhaps it was also seen as healthier to remain in Yorkshire...however living at one of the least healthy villages in England!

    Not the least of Patrick's accomplishments was surviving so long in 19th cent Haworth! lol


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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