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 6 augustus 2011

Tracing the Brontë Family in Yorkshire

Patrick Brontë in the 1830 Parson & White's Directory of Leeds 

Article  from: thegenealogist.co.uk//bronte. ""Out of curiosity, I also chose to search the 1861 Leeds and Bradford White's Directory, just to see if there was a mention of the Brontë family. To my luck there was a small mention of "Rev P Brontë". It read: "Mr Brontë and his daughter are authors of several popular novels". This is a very valuable piece of information, as if you didn't know your ancestor wrote a famous novel, just that one sentence can take you on an exciting path of research to see what novels they wrote"" 

Paintings of Branwell Bronte

Mr Kirby,

Branwell Bronte lived in Fountain Street in 1838 and 1839, when his 'uncle', William Morgan, was curate of nearby Christ Church. Branwell lodged with  and his portraits of them now hang in Haworth Parsonage. Mr Kirby, an ale and porter merchant, was not perhaps the ideal landlord for Branwell, though it is only fair to say that the Kirbys' niece remembered young Mr Bronte as 'steady, industrious and selfrespecting'. But temptation was at hand in Westgate, noted for its large numbers of inns and beerhouses, conveniently placed for the quarry workers who employed a boy 'several times a day during the summer months in fetching gallons of beer into the quarry'.

Daphne du Maurier suggests that Branwell's portraits of the Kirbys 'show a genius for satire on the part of the mocking lodger' and that Mrs Kirby 'stares from her frame in disapproval', while her husband's face is 'humorless and suspicious'. Mrs Kirby certainly appears formidable but possibly an absence of teeth may have added to the tightness of her mouth. Nevertheless, Mrs Kirby seems to have valued the portraits, because she later asked 
Branwell to return to varnish them.
paintings bronte-parsonage-museum

Travelling in Victorian times

Old English "Flying" Mail Coach.

Many large towns were not initially connected to the rail network, which meant even for gentlemanly leaders, rail travel was not an option for certain legs of the journey. To reach towns, villages and hamlets not
connected to the railway network, and without a road carrier service, walking was often the best option; the alternative being the expense of coach hire and the upkeep of a horse. Walking was a staple form of transport in the Victorian period: lower class people routinely walked long distances simply because there was no alternative.

The 1830s was the golden age of the stage coach when ‘flying coaches’ could transport affluent travellers in relative comfort and safety at speeds up to ten miles per hour. The road network, like the later railways, primarily radiated from London in the direction of major cities and towns. Destinations off the major routes were less well served and roads which traversed the country ‘across the grain’ were inconvenient.

vrijdag 5 augustus 2011

The Merrals of Ebor House.

Edwin Merrall bought both Ebor Mill and Ebor House from the representatives of Mr. Hiram Craven. Edwin made his home at the Ebor House. The Youngest brother, Hartley, remained at Spring Head Mill taking sole ownership of the Mill and properties and running the business with the help of his sons. Hartley was a very industrious man and the business at Spring Head continued to flourish, though nowhere near as successfully as Lees and Ebor Mills under the auspice of his older brothers. Springhead House, Oakworth.
Due to their success and industry, the brothers built large weaving sheds and extended the spinning mill and warehouse facilities all fitted with the most modern machinery and appliances. They also greatly enlarged Ebor Mill by erecting new weaving sheds as well as building a gasworks to supply both mills. By this time, they were supplying the highest class of goods. Yarns of the highest quality and most beautiful texture, wefted with soft yarns, spun from the finest English, Botany and Australian wools. There was a great demand for their product and their employees were earning good wages as a consequence of their enterprise. It was said that their work-force formed one of the most prosperous communities in the whole of Yorkshire.

Hartley Merrall Acres Mill, Springhead Mill &
Two of the Merralls attended the wedding of Charlotte Bronte. haworth-village.org.uk

woensdag 3 augustus 2011

Keighley 1848

The Town Hall - Keighley

The town is situated in a beautiful valley, near the rivulets Worth and North Beck, which, uniting their streams, flow into the river Aire, about a mile below the bridge here, which is a neat structure. 
The houses are built chiefly of stone. The streets are paved, and lighted with gas from works erected under an act of parliament, obtained in 1824, for the improvement of the town; and the inhabitants are amply supplied with water from copious springs in the vicinity, conveyed by works established under an act in 1816. 
A mechanics' institution was founded in 1825, and in 1835 an appropriate building was erected for its use, at an expense of £1050, of which £200 were raised by subscription, and the remainder by a proprietary; the building contains a reading-room, a spacious lecture-room, and a library of 1000 volumes. 
The worsted manufacture is carried on extensively; and there are two establishments for cotton-spinning, one of them erected about 1780, by Sir Richard Arkwright: a great part of the machinery used in the factories is made in the town; there are two paper-mills, and several large corn-mills. The worsted-stuffs are chiefly sent to the Bradford market. 
The Leeds and Liverpool canal passes within a mile, and, in connexion with other lines, opens a direct communication through Yorkshire and Lancashire with the eastern and western sea-ports. 
The Leeds and Bradford Extension railway, which connects the West riding with the town of Colne, in Lancashire, was opened as far as Keighley, in March, 1847. The market, which is abundantly supplied with provisions of all kinds, is on Wednesday, and there is a market for cattle every alternate Tuesday; fairs for cattle and merchandise are held on the 8th and 9th of May, and the 7th, 8th, and 9th of November. A very commodious market-place was erected in 1833, on land owned by the lord of the manor, by a proprietary of £25 shareholders. Petty-sessions are held on the last Wednesday in every month, in the court-house, a neat building erected at an expense of £700, in 1831. The powers of the county debt-court of Keighley, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Keighley. The town is a polling place for the West riding of the county.

The story of Rebecca Morrison- Greenwood.

Rebecca Morrison-Greenwood  (1837-1932) 

The Yorkshire town of Haworth is known worldwide as home to the Bronte family but romantic literature was not its only creation, it also harboured the roots of Rebecca Greenwood, wife of founding College Principal, George Morrison. ww.geelongcollege.vic.edu.au/heritage

In Haworth, with the demise of the Bridgehouse Greenwoods in 1848, the centre of attention became Rebecca’s uncle, William Greenwood Junior (1800-1893) of Old Oxenhope and Old Oxenhope Mill. He was a worsted spinner and manufacturer who had inherited the business of the mill at Old Oxenhope near Haworth in 1848 from his uncle, the brother of Rebecca’s grandfather George. Constructed in about 1800 it was a small-scale mill and one of 34 mills built during a time of massive industrial expansion. It was possibly Rebecca’s uncle however, William Greenwood Junior who, of her other relatives, was to exert the some affect on the family.
Despite his own Baptist convictions, William Greenwood junior became acquainted with the Anglican Perpetual Curate Patrick Bronte (1777-1861), who invited Greenwood’s election to be churchwarden as a vicar’s warden of the Established Church at Haworth in 1843 and 1845. Some people believe he may have been invited to be “people’s warden”, which role was often filled by Non-Conformists in parishes like Haworth where Non-Conformists were in the majority. One story suggests that this was part of Bronte’s attempts to secure funding for the rebuilding of the church tower. The Brontes were visitors to the Greenwood home and William Greenwood is thought to be the Baptist friend Patrick once mentioned as living in Haworth. Sarah Greenwood (1811-1893), Rebecca’s aunt lived with William from about 1854 and a surviving letter from Charlotte Bronte thanks Sarah for lending Charlotte a copy of “The Value of Health” by Mrs Ellis. This would have been in the brief period between 1854 when the book was published and 1855 when Charlotte died. While it is improbable that the teenage Rebecca met the Brontes, the Bronte’s literary success would no doubt have been closely observed as their identities became known to the reading public. Perhaps, a similar romanticism was to help inspire Rebecca’s voyage across the world to marry George Morrison.

Families Connected to Keighley''s history. And fantastic photo's of Haworth

Joseph Greenwood (1786–1856) was the second son of James Greenwood Sr of Bridgehouse, who acquired, or perhaps was given, Springhead Mill when quite young. Lord of the Manor of Oxenhope. In 1834 Joseph Greenwood purchased the Manor of Oxenhope from the Earl of Wilton. The manorial rights passed from Joseph Greenwood, Esq., of Spring Head, to Captain Edwards, by purchase. In 1853 he and his sons went bankrupt, and he moved to Utley. COURT FOR RELIEF OF INSOLVENT DEBTORS. Saturday the 8th day of April, 1854. ASSIGNEES have been appointed in the following Cases. Further particulars may be learned at the Office, in Portugal-Street, Lincoln's- Inn-Fields, on giving the number of the Case. James Greenwood, late of Springhead, near Keighley, Yorkshire, out of business, Insolvent, No. 77,451 C; John Appleyard and John Sutcliffe, Assignees. William Cockcroft Greenwood, late of Springhead, Keighley, Yorkshire, Farmer, Insolvent, No. 77,454 C; John Appleyard and John Sutcliffe, Assignees.
Joseph was married to Grace Cockroft he was also a Magistrate 1822. He was also a close friend of Patrick Brontë. He also had three daughters exactly the same ages as Charlotte, Emily, and Anne and the girls were friends and he also had two eligible sons, William and James, several years older than the girls.

Houses around Keighley:  valendale.myby.co.uk/houses.
Old Photo's of keighley :   photobucket.com/albums

Fantastic photo's of Haworth:
Click on Haworth



Emily used the word "wuthering" as a provincial adjective to describe the house's situation when exposed to stormy weather. I had to admit it was about as desolate and harsh as you can get and her fiery, tumultuous characters seemed entirely appropriate here in this rough environment. As I felt the wind whistling painfully around my ears I felt sure that a visit to the Heights on a warm sunny day just wouldn't have the same effect

This is what the Bronte Sisters saw when they were walking on the moors in august.

August can be a hot dry month but also can be wet if westerly winds bring low depression giving periods of dull wet weather.
During the month the heather on the moors will be in flower swathed in purple, amongst the heather you will find bilberry its small ripe berries ready to eat. Some of the flowers you can see this this month are; Spear thistle Rosebay Willowherb Orange Hawkweed.
Insects such as Bees and Hoverflies are busy pollinating flowers. Burnet Moths can be seen usually on heathland. Some of the common butterflies you can see this month are; Peacock, Large Skipper, and Red Admiral
During August some birds which are regular visitors to our garden seem to disappear. Reason is that during this month birds moult their feathers and it can be dangerous particularly as their wing feathers will make it harder to escape predators, they will try to keep themselves concealed until the moult has finished. Another reason this is the time where there is plenty of natural food such as berries and grain so will move to where the best food is.

Summer visitors such as Swallows, House Martins and Swifts can be seen flying low over fields catching insects. Bats are a familiar site at sunset.
This is the best time to see Dragonflies and Damselflies. On warm days with a light wind you can see male Dragonflies establishing their territory and chasing off rivals. The Dragonfly species you are likely to see are the Common Hawkers. Damselflies which are smaller such as the Common Blue can be seen.y dates:

August 11th 2009: Heather is flowering purple on the moors.

dinsdag 2 augustus 2011

What makes a work Gothic?

Wuthering Heights contains undeniably Gothic elements:
In true Gothic fashion, boundaries are trespassed, specifically love crossing the boundary between life and death and Heathcliff's transgressing social class and family ties. Brontë follows Walpole and Radcliffe in portraying the tyrannies of the father and the cruelties of the patriarchal family and in reconstituting the family on non-patriarchal lines, even though no counterbalancing matriarch or matriarchal family is presented. Brontë has incorporated the Gothic trappings of imprisonment and escape, flight, the persecuted heroine, the heroine wooed by a dangerous and a good suitor, ghosts, necrophilia, a mysterious foundling, and revenge. The weather-buffeted Wuthering Heights is the traditional castle, and Catherine resembles Ann Radcliffe's heroines in her appreciation of nature. Like the conventional Gothic hero-villain, Heathcliff is a mysterious figure who destroys the beautiful woman he pursues and who usurps inheritances, and with typical Gothic excess he batters his head against a tree. There is the hint of necrophilia in Heathcliff's viewings of Catherine's corpse and his plans to be buried next to her and a hint of incest in their being raised as brother and sister or, as a few critics have suggested, in Heathcliff's being Catherine's illegitimate half-brother.

What makes a work Gothic is a combination of at least some of these elements: read:

maandag 1 augustus 2011

Remembering Emily Bronte

I am going to select memories concerning Emily Bronte, not the ideas of interpretors, but people who really knew her.
  • Monsieur Heger remembered Emily Brontë as having “a head for logic, and a capability of argument, unusual in a man, and rare indeed in a woman.” To describe her, he used phrases such as these: “powerful reason” (that is, reasoning ability) and “strong, imperious will.”
  •  I remember Emily Bronte walking in Haworth, a quiet unassuming lass, with simple long clothes, said Joshua Baldwin.
All that survives of Emily's own words about herself is two brief letters, two diary papers written when she was thirteen and sixteen, and two birthday papers, written when she was twenty-three and twenty-seven. Almost everything that is known about her comes from the writings of others, primarily Charlotte.
  • Charlotte Bronte: Liberty was the breath of Emily’s nostrils; without it, she perished. The change from her own home to a school, and from her own very noiseless, very secluded, but unrestricted and inartificial mode of life, to one of disciplined routine (though under the kindliest auspices), was what she failed in enduring. Her nature proved here too strong for her fortitude. Every morning when she woke, the vision of home and the moors rushed on her, and darkened and saddened the day that lay before her. Nobody knew what ailed her but me—I knew only too well. In this struggle her health was quickly broken: her white face, attenuated form, and failing strength threatened rapid decline. I felt in my heart she would die if she did not go home, and with this conviction obtained her recall. 
  • “Never in all her life had she lingered over any task that lay before her, and she did not linger now. She sank rapidly. She made haste to leave us. Yet, while physically she perished, mentally she grew stronger than we had yet known her. Day by day, when I saw with what a front she met suffering, I looked on her with anguished wonder and love..Stronger than a man, simpler than a child, her nature stood alone. The awful point was, that while full of ruth for others, on herself she had no pity...
  • "kind, kindling, liquid eyes" Ellen Nussey. 
  • Mr Jenkins, the Anglican cleric, who had helped the sisters find the Pensionnat, invited them to spend Sundays at his house in the Chaussée d’Ixelles. However, Mrs. Jenkins stopped inviting them after a while, as their shyness and awkwardness made the visits more and more painful. They were escorted to the house by the Jenkins' sons, who found the walks tedious owing to the girls' silence. Mrs. Jenkins observed that: “Emily hardly ever uttered more than a monosyllable” when she was in their home.
  • The eldest Wheelwright daughter, Laetitia, who was to become a friend and correspondent of Charlotte’s later in life, wrote of her antipathy of Emily:
    I simply disliked her from the first. She taught my three youngest sisters music for four months to my annoyance, as she would only take them in their play hours, so as not to curtail her own school hours, naturally causing tears to small children. 

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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