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

woensdag 13 augustus 2014

Family Branwell

Maria Branwell, who, at Guiseley, on December 29th, 1812, became the wife of the Reverend Patrick Brontë, was the daughter of Thomas Branwell and Ann Carne, his wife, both natives of Penance.

The Branwells resided in that neighbourhood for two centuries before Thomas Branwell's day, and their name, under the various guises of Bramwell, Bramble and Bromwell, is to be found in the registers of the parishes adjoining Penzance.  The earliest mention of this name that I can trace in Cornwall occurs in the Parish of Sancreed in 1605. A former incumbent of the adjoining parish of Paul, John Trernearne, saw his church in the hands of the Spaniards in 1595, when four of their warships made a raid on the Cornish coast. From him was descended Jane Tremearne, who, on July 2nd, 1705, married Martyn Bremble, presumably the son of John Bromwell, whose marriage to Constance is recorded on March 13th, 1657-8, at Madron. Martyn Branwell's will, dated April 22nd, 1719, and proved July 29th, 1719, exists at the Probate Registry at Bodmin. He is described as of Penzance, and a butcher by trade; and he mentions his sons, Martyn, Richard, and Joseph, and three daughters, Maudlyn, Margery, and Alice. To his wife, Jane he bequeathed the fee simple of the house and gardens, etc., wherein he dwelt, and also another house. From the terms of his will it is evident that Richard, Joseph, Margery, and Alice were minors. Of these children, Richard, baptised at Madron Church (the mother church of Penzance), on February 26th, 1711, is of greater importance in our special quest than the others. He married in 1742, at the same church, Margaret John, daughter of Thomas John, blacksmith of Penzance, and by her was the father of four sons and four daughters. Of these sons, two, named Martin, died young; the other two were Richard, the eldest child, from whom descended the Branwells resident at Penzance today, and Thomas, the father of Maria Brontë.  Of the four daughters, Margaret, the eldest, married Joseph Coren in 1772, and by him had a son, also named Joseph, described as a scrivener in his grandfather's will, dated February 9th, 1792. The next daughter, Elizabeth, married John Keam, who is described as a shop-keeper. In The Wesleyan Magazine for 1826 (page 68), there is an obituary notice of this worthy by the Rev. Wm. Pennington Burgess. Therein it is stated that he died in the sixty-eighth year of his age, and that for thirty-six years, "he had been a steady and upright member of the Methodist Society, and was generally respected and esteemed." Alice, the younger daughter, married John Williams, gentleman, of Redruth. I have not been able to ascertain anything concerning the descendants of these three daughters, Mrs. Keam, Mrs. Coren, and Mrs. Williams.  With Jane, the third daughter of Richard Branwell and Margaret John, the case is different. She married, at Madron in December, 1790, John Fennell, a schoolmaster, some nine years younger than herself. When, in the early part of 1812, Mr. Fennell was appointed to the headmastership of the residential school for the children of Wesleyans at Woodhouse Grove, at its inauguration, Mrs. Fennell became the matron of the establishment. She died at Crosstones Vicarage, near Todmorden, well past the Psalmist's span of life. On the tombstone in the churchyard, besides the date of her death on May 26th, 1829, are the following lines, a loving tribute from her husband:

Farewell, blest saint, thou dear and faithful friend,
Beloved in life, lamented in thine end,
Instructed long in sharp affliction's school
To make submission to thy lord thy rule,
To find, when every hope of life was past,
Thy blest, thy choicest comforts, were thy last.
Thou now eternally with him shall dwell,
Blest saint, thou dear and faithful friend, farewell.
John Fennell was the son of Thomas Fennell and Mary, his wife, of Madeley in Shropshire, and was born in 1762. In 1801, there appeared in The Wesleyan Methodist Magazine two short letters from his pen. In one he discusses the character of the Rev. John Fletcher, of Madeley, and appends a letter received by him from that saintly man. One gathers from it that Fennell was a godson of Mr. Fletcher, who was an intimate friend of John Wesley. The second communication is an account of the death of Susanna Taylor, of Penzance, on January 10th, 1801. The death of this young lady of only 19 summers is affectingly described, and the lessons derivable from her good life are laid down for those who desired a pattern of piety.  From these it is evident that Mr. Fennell was a class-leader amongst the Wesleyans of Penzance. In 1796, and in later years, he contributed replies to Mathematical questions in The Ladies' Diary. He was never a fully fledged Methodist Minister, though in The Dictionary of National Biography, he is described as such. It was his head-ship of Woodhouse Grove School - a post, since his time, held chiefly by Wesleyan Ministers - which has led to the false conception that he was an itinerant Minister among the Methodists. He was at Woodhouse only some ten or eleven months, but in that short period he was the means of bringing together the two people who were afterwards to become the parents of the gifted Brontë sisters.  The story of the meeting of the Irish Curate and the little Cornish lady has been told many times over since Mrs. Gaskell, in her classic, related it for the first time. It would seem that Mrs. Fennell needed help in the needlework department of the establishment, and, as Miss Maria Branwell was an expert at sewing, and was on the lookout for some method of supplementing her little fortune, she accepted the proffered post, and after a tedious journey north, was duly installed. Shortly after Mr. Fennell left Woodhouse Grove, he took Holy Orders, and for some time served as a Curate to the Rev. John Crosse, the blind and pious Vicar of Bradford. We first find Fennell's signature as Curate in the Bradford Parish Registers on October 15th, 1815, the very day that Christ Church was consecrated, and to which his predecessor and son-in-law, William Morgan, had been appointed as incumbent. His last signature appears on April 13th, 1817.  A great friendship, based on their mutual belief in Evangelical theology, existed between Vicar Crosse and John Fennell. When the Vicar died, Fennell came over from Crosstones, and preached the funeral sermon, which was afterwards printed. Thanks to Mr. Crosse, who had previously held that incumbency, Mr. Fennell was appointed to Crosstones, near Todmorden, and continued Vicar of that remote and upland hamlet until his death in October 1847 (amended to 1841) at the age of 79. By his first wife, of whom we have spoken, he had but one child, Jane Branwell Fennell, who was baptised (amended to born) at Madron on October 9th, 1791.  As is well known, she was married at Guiseley to the Rev. William Morgan by the Rev. Patrick Brontë, and on the same occasion her husband performed the marriage ceremony for Brontë and his wife, who, of course, was Jane Fennell's cousin. On the very same day, in the far distant church of Madron, Maria Branwell's youngest sister, Charlotte, was married to Joseph Branwell, her own cousin, and, consequently, cousin also to both ladies of the Guiseley marriages. Of William Morgan Vicar of Christ Church, Bradford, much has been written in scattered form, but we yet await the full story of the useful life of this strenuous worker in the cause of religion and temperance. He was of a choleric and irascible temperament, and it was reported of him that on one occasion he sent his cook to jail for making thin sauce!  The Church of Madeley, near Wellington in Shropshire, where Fletcher ministered, should be added to the list of places of Brontëan interest. Fletcher, too, was a friend of John Crosse. Morgan had been a curate at Wellington, and, somewhat later, Patrick Brontë had also held the same office. When Fennell, the god-son of Fletcher, came to live near Bradford, what was more natural than the development of friendships with Crosse, with Morgan, and, through the latter, with Patrick Brontë? The links in the chain of causation of an important marriage are here revealed, and the influence of John Wesley on the Brontë sisters, their lives, and their writings is not so remote as might be imagined.

RICHARD BRANWELL (1711-1792) was baptized at Madron on 26 February 1711. He married around 1742. He married Margaret John at Madron in 1742. "He with his partner Mr Hambleton were the premier builders of Penzance, and built the Assembly Room in the Union Hotel (first assembly 1791), where the gentry (à la Poldark) met monthly to hold their balls. He also built 25 Chapel Street, and put in the Georgian staircase at Godolphin Manor. His work on the quay, however, was washed away, and he was criticized on this account." (correspondence with Lilian Oldham). Richard's will is dated 9 February 1792. He was buried eight days later, in Penzance. Richard and Margaret had eight children:
1 RICHARD BRANWELL (1744-1812), baptized at Madron on 9 July 1744. He married Honour Matthews. He became an innkeeper. He died in Newquay after a lingering illness. His descendants, who continued to live in Penzance, were:
1.1 RICHARD BRANWELL (1772-1815) 1.2 HONOR BRANWELL (1773-before 1776) 1.3 ROBERT MATTHEWS BRANWELL (1775-1813) 1.4 HONOR BRANWELL (1777-??) 1.5 THOMAS BRANWELL (1778-1811) 1.6 THOMASINE MATTHEWS BRANWELL (1779?-1853) 1.7 MARGARET BRANWELL (1782-1816) 1.8 JULIA BRANWELL (1784-1829) 1.9 ELIZA BRANWELL (1786-1835) 1.10 JOSEPH BRANWELL (1789-1857)
2 THOMAS BRANWELL (1746-1808), baptized at Madron in 1746. He married Ann Carne on 28 November 1768. He died on 5 April 1808. They had eleven children, including:
2.8 MARIA BRANWELL (1783-1821), born on 15 April 1783 and baptized at Madron on 29 June 1788. She was a seamstress, and travelled north to work for John Fennell. On 29 November 1812, she married the Reverend Patrick Brontë at Guiseley. He was some six years older than her. She died on 15 September 1821. Patrick lived on, and died on 7 June 1861. The Brontës, with the exception of Anne, are all buried in the family crypt at Haworth, Yorkshire. They had six children:
2.8.1 MARIA BRONTË (1814-1825), who died, aged 11, on 6 May 1825. 2.8.2 ELIZABETH BRONTË (1815-1825), born on 8 February 1815. She died on 15 June 1825. 2.8.3 CHARLOTTE BRONTË (1816-1855), born at Thornton on 21 April 1816 and baptized on the 29th. She married the Reverend Arthur Bell Nicholls on 29 June 1854. She died during pregnancy on 31 March 1855. Arthur survived, and died on 2 December 1906. 2.8.4 PATRICK BRANWELL BRONTË (1817-1848), born on 26 June 1817. He died on 24 September 1848. 2.8.5 EMILY JANE BRONTË (1818-1848), born on 30 July 1818. She died on 19 December 1848. 2.8.6 ANNE BRONTË (1820-1849), born on 17 January 1820. She died in Scarborough on 28 May 1849.
3 MARGARET BRANWELL (1748-1773), baptized at Madron on 5 December 1748. She married Joseph Corin on 20 April 1772. She died shortly after the birth of their first child, and was buried at Madron on 15 February 1773. 4 ELIZABETH BRANWELL (1750-??), baptized at Madron on 30 June 1750. She married John Keam, a Methodist and a shopkeeper, some nine years younger than herself. 5 MARTIN BRANWELL (1752-1755), baptized at Madron on 18 June 1752. He also died in infancy. 6 JANE BRANWELL (1753-1829), baptized at Madron on 3 December 1853. She married John Fennell at Madron in 1790. He too was some nine years younger than his wife. He was from Madeley, in Shropshire, and came to Penzance to teach. He was a Methodist class-leader, but later became vicar of Crosstones, near Todmorden. Jane died at Crosstones on 26 May 1829. She and John had a daughter:
6.1 JANE BRANWELL FENNELL (1791-1827), born at Madron on 9 October 1791. She married the Reverend William Morgan at Guiseley on 29 November 1812 in a double wedding with her cousin, Maria Branwell. She died at on 24 September 1827, and was buried at Cross-stones three days later.
7 ALICE BRANWELL (1756-??), baptized at Madron on 3 July 1756. She married John Williams, gentleman of Redruth. 8 MARTIN BRANWELL (1761-1761), baptized privately at Madron on 29 June 1761, who also died in infancy. hector.davie/Branwell


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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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