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

vrijdag 24 september 2010

Branwell Brontë died 162 years ago today

Patrick Branwell Brontë
Born: 26-Jun-1817
Birthplace: Thornton, Yorkshire, England
Died: 24-Sep-1848
Location of death: Haworth, Yorkshire, England
Cause of death: Tuberculosis
Remains: Buried, Church of St. Michael and All Angels, Haworth, Yorkshire, England
Occupation: Poet, Painter
Poet and painter Branwell Brontë
was adored by his sisters
who believed
 he was the brightest
 of the Brontë family

donderdag 23 september 2010

Martha and John Brown

Martha was one of the six daughters of John and Mary Brown of Haworth. John Brown was the village Sexton and, although thirteen years older, he was a close friend of Branwell Brontë . The Browns lived in Sexton's House, which John himself had built on the eastern end of the Church School, shortly after the school was built in 1832. Sexton's House is directly opposite the Church, and about a hundred yards from the Parsonage. The Sexton was responsible for the fabric of the church and the maintenance of the burial ground, where he dug the graves and carved memorials. Most of John Brown's daughters worked at the Parsonage at one time or another, cleaning, washing and running errands, but Martha was the only one to live in.

John Brown

     John Brown (Oil on Canvas by Branwell Bronte)

In every Lodge there are always some Brethren who play an above average part in Lodge affairs. Indeed the record of some Brethren leads one to the conclusion that but for them, their Lodge would have, of necessity, surrendered its Warrant.
One such Brother was John Brown, initiated into the Lodge in September 1830, he was one of the proposers to apply for a new Warrant and for the Lodge to be reinstated. He was the first Master in 1832 after issue of the new Warrant.
Such was the state of the Lodge that over a period of 20 odd years, that, for whatever reason, he acted as Master on thirteen occasions. John Brown, who died on the 10th August 1855 aged 51 years, was not only one of the Brethren who helped ensure the future of the Lodge but was also closely associated with the Bronte family.
He was the Church sexton for 20 years, his Father before him having served as sexton for 27 years. He and Joseph Redman proposed Branwell Bronte for membership of the Lodge in 1836 and John Brown maintained a close supportive friendship with Branwell until the latter’s death in 1848. Indeed he was with Branwell shortly before his death on the 24th September.
In his book “In the steps of the Brontes” Ernest Raymond writes “John Brown saw, or suspected, that he was about to die and called the family. And when they had all come, he, in his decency, slipped away. He did not go across the lane to his home but into the empty belfry of the Church. Why? Maybe because it was Sunday morning and the bells would be ringing for Morning Prayers; maybe to toll a passing bell; but maybe for neither of these reasons, since it was still only nine 0′ clock; and he did not know how long his friend would live. Let us not intrude upon his retreat, but leave him there”

Often called by Branwell “Old Knave of Trumps”, John Brown continued to maintain a close contact with the Bronte family, particularly the Rev.Patrick Bronte. His daughter Martha had entered into the service of the Brontes in her early teens. Later, on becoming the Curate and before his marriage to Charlotte,. the Rev A.B.Nichols lodged with the Browns in “their little house against the school”

John Brown’s Grand Lodge Certificate dated November 1832 is on display in the Lodge room together with that of Joseph Redman. The Browns’ family grave is in the Churchyard near the Parsonage wall and is signposted as a point of interest for the benefit of the many thousands of visitors to Haworth.
In his 1931 History of Three Graces, of John Brown, Bro W.Feather writes “It will be difficult to find a case comparable with this, of a Brother giving such a record of service to our cause, His talents and ability, no doubt, were a great feature in the successful steering of the Lodge through the first years of its reconstruction, over the rough seas, without quitting the helm of rectitude.

Haworth Church Cottage

Haworth church cottage Here

The cottage is thought to have been built by John Brown sexton and stonemason in the 1830's. John Brown was the Worshipful Master of the Three Graces Masonic Lodge in Haworth where he introduced Branwell Bronte to the lodge.John Brown was also associated in drinking exploits with Branwell. So Branwell Bronte would have been a regular visitor.

Arthur Bell Nicholls lodged in this house for the nine years before his marriage to Charlotte Bronte. It was here he read the book Shirley written by Charlotte Bronte. Roars of laughter and stamping of feet were heard as he read about the character based on himself causing the wife of John Brown to think "he had gone wrong in the head". After Charlotte and Arthur were married they lived at the parsonage.

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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