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

zaterdag 20 februari 2010

Charlotte Bronte and her association with Banagher



Charlotte's Way
Charlotte's Way (Hill House)Charlotte's Way, formerly known as Hill House, is located in a prominent setting close to Saint Paul's Church of Ireland church. This house was once the home of Charlotte Brontë's husband, Mr. Nicholls, who returned to Banagher after Charlotte's death. Nicholls remarried and lived at Hill House until his death in 1906. The house was sold to a Major Bell in 1919. He died in 1944 and his wife inherited the property. Florence Bell died in 1959. This connection to Brontë, one of the most renowned writers of the nineteenth century, is revealed in its present name, giving the house cultural interest. It is a detached three-bay two-storey house, built in 1753, with a gabled central bay to the façade with modern porch and single-bay two-storey wing to the south and two-bay two-storey wing to the north.[40] It is now used as a bed and breakfast and visitors can enjoy its restored appearance and sense the history of a place connected in a curious way with the Brontë family.

The History Girls present The Brontë sisters

Do you know authors who, as a child, wrote in tiny books?

Als kind schreven de Bronte Sisters in kleine boekjes
ik weet dat meer schrijvers dit deden
ik heb in Google gezocht
 en vond alleen de naam van 
Jenny Oldfield
weten jullie nog meer schrijvers?

Tot mijn verbazing blijkt er een hele ART vorm
rond kleine boekjes te zijn.
een voorbeeld is

je moet in Google eens
bij tiny books
een wereld gaat open.

donderdag 18 februari 2010

Arthur Bell Nicholls

He packed up his belongings and all his mementos of Charlotte and returned to Ireland taking Plato, Patrick's last dog, with him. In Banagher the Royal School was now being run by Dr. Bell's second son, James, who had taken it over on the death of his father. He was living in Cuba House, so his mother, Arthur's aunt, had gone to live in a small house at the top of the hill in the little town, with her daughter Mary Anna. After Cuba House, Hill House must have felt minute, hut it was pretty, opposite the church and stood in twenty acres of land. It is still there though much changed over the years.

Arthur made his way to Hill House where he joined his aunt and cousin, Mary Anna. He became a small farmer, giving up the Church altogether. Martha Brown, one of the faithful Brontë servants came over from time to time and took over the housekeeping. She had nursed Charlotte and was one of Arthur's last links with the old days. When he was forty three and Mary Anna thirty two they decided to get married. She had always loved her cousin and he was fond of her. They married in 1864 and the ceremony was performed by Rev. Joseph Bell, Mary Anna's brother, and Arthur's cousin. It seemed to be more of a marriage of convenience, a friendship than anything else. There were no children of the marriage. Arthur died in 1906 at the age of eighty eight and Mary Ann in 1915 aged eighty five. They are both buried across the road from Hill House in the Churchyard of St. Paul's. Arthur's aunt, Mary Anna's mother, lived to the great age of 101, dying in 1902, a wonderful old lady. Arthur never recovered from Charlotte's death. He loved her to the end of his long life. He and Patrick Brontë were very different personalities, hut it is curious to see how much they had in common, and of course Charlotte will always link them together.

Arthur Bell Nicholls

Arthur Bell Nicholls, photographed on his honeymoon
in Ireland. 1854.
Arthur took his bride home to Ireland for their honeymoon, and a great surprise awaited her when she met his delightful family and saw Cuba House for the first time.10 She must suddenly have realised that she had married a real 'gentleman' in every sense of the word. On all sides she heard great reports of him. One of the servants told her she had got 'one of the best gentlemen in the country'. In her letters home she wrote, 'I was very much pleased with all I saw, but I was also greatly surprised to find so much English order and repose in the family habits and arrangements. I had heard a great deal about Irish negligence.' Describing Mrs. Bell, Arthur's aunt... 'with her English manners — like an English or Scottish matron, quiet, kind and well bred', Charlotte began to revise her former opinion of her husband and his family.

Tully Farm, birthplace of Arthur Bell Nichols.

Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë are famous the world over for their writing. Many books have been written over the years portraying their short and tragic lives, and the struggles of their ambitious and clever father Patrick, who rose from humble origins to enter Cambridge University and on to a life dedicated to the Established Church. Only one of his children married. In 1854 Charlotte, his surviving daughter, married Arthur Bell Nicholls, then curate of Haworth, and there lies another story.
Arthur Bell Nicholls was, according to the inscription on his headstone in Banagher churchyard, born in 1818, though other sources give the date as 1819. His birth place was Tully Farm, Killead, in the townland of Tully, Co. Antrim. Now it is a comfortable two storied house with a slated roof and all modern conveniences, looking out across the fields to Lough Neagh and the Sperrin mountains beyond. It is still a working farm, hut very different from the days when he was a child, running around in a very crowded family. I was told the history of the house by Mrs Siberry, its present owner. Her grandfather bought it in 1892 from George Nicholls. That year Arthur was still alive and living in Hill House, Banagher. His brother George had died in 1870 so the George who sold the farm was most probably a nephew.
Lees verder:


woensdag 17 februari 2010

The Parsonage, Henry Houston Bonnell

One room, the dining room or parlour, has a particular fascination. It is where Charlotte, Emily and Anne did most of their writing. Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Agnes Grey, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – they all came from this room. And one of their remarkable routines, perhaps done to gain inspiration, was to walk round and round the dining room table reading and discussing their writings and the plans they had. This could go on late into the night. After both Emily and Anne had died Charlotte continued to pace around the table on her own, unable to go to sleep until she had carried out this nightly ritual.
There is also a black horse hair sofa made by the local carpenter in Haworth (he also made the original dining table and other furniture in the house). It is on this sofa that Emily is thought to have died, having refused to see a doctor until it was too late.

In 1927 the parsonage was bought for £3,000 from the Church by Sir James Roberts, a local man who had made a great deal of money in the textile industry. He donated the house to the Brontë Society, formed in 1893, which had always hoped to get hold of the house but with only fifty pounds in the bank could never have afforded it! Sir James gave them another £1500 towards the cost of setting up the museum and in the autumn of 1928 thousands of people flocked to Haworth for the official opening.

Once the parsonage became a museum, all sorts of Brontë pieces, which had been sold off over the years, were returned and donated, including furniture and the superb collection of manuscripts, drawings and books which were sent to the museum as a bequest from the collection of Henry Houston Bonnell in America.

Look at this website: The Bonnell Collection, with beautiful photo's)

Thanks to the hard work and foresight of the Brontë Society the long climb up the main street of Haworth to visit the Brontë Parsonage is an unforgettable experience. Once there you glimpse what seems to us now a simple but contented way of life. But when you remember that this house produced the most famous literary family in the world and that more than 150 years later their novels continue to fascinate and intrigue millions of readers it makes it all the more remarkable. Our advice is simple. Go there if you possibly can and soak it all up.

The Brontë Society

The Brontë Society (founded 1893), whose museum started in one room over the Pennybank, was given the parsonage in 1927 and transferred there the next year, which also saw the arrival of Henry Houston Bonnell's collection of Brontëana from Philadelphia. The Society's annual periodical, Transactions, contains the first printing of many Brontë documents. Its comprehensive guide to the house, which has been restored to resemble the Brontë home, contains a short history of the family. A leaflet lists the places which influenced their work, including a favourite walk to the Brontë waterfall, Ponden Hall (setting of Thrushcross Grange), and High or Top Withens (ruins), the possible site of Wuthering Heights. Elizabeth Gaskell, who visited in 1853, contrasted the bleak aspect of the house outside with the ‘snugness and comfort’ of the interior. She walked on the moor with Charlotte, who told her stories of the families there which made her think Wuthering Heights tame in comparison.

Matthew Arnold's poem ‘Haworth Churchyard’, written after Charlotte's death, says in error that the grass ‘Blows from their graves to thy own’ as the Brontës (with the exception of Anne) were buried in the family vault in the church (rebuilt 1881), where a plaque marks the site. A stained‐glass window is an American tribute to Charlotte Brontë, and the Memorial Chapel has been added.

the Parsonage

Built in 1778, the interior of the house has been recreated to appear much as it would have done when the Bronte's lived here. The collection contains many items of furniture which actually belonged to the family, and also a great many of their personal possessions and creations.

The ground floor of the museum displays the dining room where the children did most of their early writing, Mr Bronte's study, the kitchen - much altered since the family lived here, although it has been reconstructed as far as possible - and the store room that Charlotte had converted into a study for her husband, Arthur Bell Nicholls.

On the upper floor, in what was once Mr and Mrs Bronte's room and subsequently became Charlotte's room, is a display containing some of her clothes, and her shoes, which are tiny and look particularly uncomfortable. It's immediately obvious from both the shoes and the dress just how diminutive she was - probably no more than 4' 10".

This is also the room Charlotte and Arthur shared following their marriage on 29 June, 1854, and where she died less than a year later on 31 March 1855.

Next to Charlotte's room is the tiny bedroom thought to have been used as Emily's bedroom. Prior to some alterations carried out during the 1850s, this room would probably have been larger and was used as a nursery and playroom by all the children. It was probably here that they played with the toy soldiers and where they wrote their tiny little adventure books. One of these books is on display in the exhibition room.

Across the hallway is Patrick Bronte's room which he moved into following the death of his wife.

Patrick shared the room with his son Branwell once the latter's addiction to drugs and alcohol had reached the stage where he was likely to be a danger to himself and others.
Both Branwell and Patrick died in this room; Branwell at the age of 31, and Patrick thirteen years later, at the age of 84.

Beyond the room containing examples of Branwell's paintings is the exhibition room, telling the story of the lives of the famous Bronte family, and downstairs, the "Bonnell Room" - named after the American bibliophile who donated his collection of Bronteana to the museum - which houses temporary exhibitions.

Ashmount Country House

The former home of Charlotte Brontë’s doctor,
Amos Ingham
Ashmount Country House
Mytholmes Lane
Haworth, West Yorkshire
BD22 8EZ
United Kingdom

The Branwell exhibition in the Bonnell Room

Angria was the fictional country created in a series of stories by Charlotte Brontë and her brother Branwell, before Charlotte got into her writing stride with Jane Eyre and Branwell self-destructed.

A new exhibition at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, West Yorkshire, tells the story of Angria and gives Branwell, the hapless sibling, due credit as an inspiration and catalyst for his sisters’ creative imaginations.

Arts and culture holiday ideas Quaint, cobbled Haworth, with its tea shops, its graveyard and its hinterland of forbidding moorland, is saturated with the Brontës. Their books and characters are reflected in the names of cab companies, Indian restaurants, hotels and streets. The annual throughput of 75,000 tourists – almost all pilgrims to the Parsonage Museum – may appreciate the atmosphere of bygone days, but Haworth’s prize tourist asset is far from complacent.

That’s why the dour, four-square, moorland house where, more than a century and a half ago, three rather strange sisters produced works of literary greatness – and a brother wasted his promise – is in the midst of a rolling redevelopment. Last year it reopened with a freshly designed exhibition space on the first floor that shows the minute storybooks that brought Angria to life, complete with magnifying glasses to read the exquisitely tiny handwriting. Downstairs in the Bonnell Room is a temporary exhibition on the hitherto neglected Branwell called Sex, Drugs and Literature: the Infernal World of Branwell Brontë.

Branwell is generally remembered for the spectacular trajectory of his self-destruction, as implied in the lurid title of this exhibition. The details of his downward spiral are well chronicled through his drawings, notebooks and letters.

According to Elizabeth Gaskell, novelist and biographer of Charlotte Brontë, Branwell was “perhaps, to begin with, the greatest genius in this rare family” but he dissipated his talents as artist and writer in drink and drugs.

After trying his hand as a portrait painter in Bradford (largely unsuccessful), he worked as a family tutor (dismissed), as a railway employee (dismissed) and once more as a tutor (dismissed again after a love affair with the mistress of the house – the traumatic event that pitched him even further into what we would nowadays call substance abuse).

When he died of tuberculosis in 1848 at the age of 31, having achieved little of note, Charlotte wrote: “I do not weep from a sense of bereavement, but for the wreck of a talent, the ruin of promise… ”

The upstairs rooms of the museum provide a corrective to this negative view of Branwell. In his “studio” – which actually served for most of the time as a bedroom – hang portraits of Bradford worthies that show him to have been a competent if uninspired artist. Next door, in the revamped Exhibition Room dedicated to the Brontës as writers, Branwell is revealed as a crucial midwife of his sisters’ imaginations.

Indeed, their love of imaginary worlds may be said to have dated from the day in June 1826 when a set of toy soldiers arrived at the Parsonage for Branwell, a gift from his father, Patrick. The soldiers do not survive, but the children’s accounts of the imaginary worlds they created for them do. In tiny, meticulous handwriting – tiny enough for a toy soldier to read – the siblings took the soldiers off to Africa and the imaginary land of Angria.
Later, Emily and Anne created yet another world that they called Gondal. In the family’s copy of Grammar of General Geography, wedged between entries for Gomera and Gondar, Anne added in her neat handwriting this fictitious land of Gondal, which she described as “a large island in the North Pacific”.

Marooned in their windswept moorland parsonage, the siblings gave full vent to their powerful imaginations and Charlotte and Branwell in particular had ambitions of wider literary success.

Charlotte’s expectations were temporarily dashed when the Poet Laureate, Robert Southey, wrote in reply to her letter that “Literature cannot be the business of a woman’s life”. Branwell’s pompous and long-winded letter to William Wordsworth – “I have lived among secluded hills, where I could neither know what I was or what I could do” – did not elicit a reply. Perhaps the most poignant exhibit is Branwell’s last surviving drawing, entitled A Parody, which shows him being summoned from sleep by Death in the form of a gesturing skeleton.

The Branwell exhibition in the Bonnell Room runs until May, by which time two more phases of refurbishment at the Parsonage Museum will have taken place.

This year the “interpretation and casing” of exhibits in the original rooms of the house have been modernised and new displays reflect the history of Haworth. Later the house will be redecorated in a more authentic way to reflect the early- to mid-19th-century period when the family lived there.

‘‘We’re trying to do some decorative archaeology with English Heritage to produce something with more historical veracity,” says the director of the Parsonage Museum, Andrew McCarthy. “It will be quite a dramatic change.”

After visiting the Parsonage I walked up on the moors behind the house as far as Top Withens, the ruined farmstead said by some to have been the inspiration for Wuthering Heights. From this bleak, haunting spot I looked back over a landscape of bog, bracken and heather, and a deep, dark valley cleft.

The spirit of these literary siblings is captured forever in the scene. After the deaths of Emily and Anne, Charlotte wrote of these moors that Emily’s memory was distilled in the heather and ferns, while “The distant prospects were Anne’s delight, and when I look round she is in the blue tints, the pale mists, the waves and shadows of the horizon.” Branwell you may detect in the plangent moaning of the wind.


zondag 14 februari 2010

baby's cap

A small baby's cap that she knitted for a family friend is on display at Bronte parsonage. It is all the more poignant because Charlotte was pregnant at the time of her death.

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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