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 3 december 2011

Great-great Grandad knew the Brontes

Read the article: here
Giggleswick historian WR Mitchell ponders on the strange but compelling story of Dr. William Cartman, his great-great grandfather on his mother’s side. He was headmaster of Ermysted’s Grammar School, Skipton, for over three decades and included the Bronte family among his friends. Cartman often took services at Haworth Church and dined with the Brontes at the Parsonage. He officiated at the funeral services for both Charlotte Bronte and her father.
William Cartman, the former head-master at Ermysted's Grammar School, Skipton, who was a friend of the Brontes
The friendship between Patrick Bronte and William Cartman dated from the time when Patrick was curate at Haworth and William had become curate at Bingley. A Lambeth Doctor of Divinity was awarded to him by the Archbishop of Canterbury in recognition of his powers as a preacher.
Cartman cherished his continuing Haworth connection. He often preached from the three-decker pulpit of Haworth Old Church after which he would join Patrick, a widower, and daughter Charlotte for a meal at the Parsonage.
A generous man, in January 1854 Cartman presented Bronte with “an ice apparatus” (a pair of heel spikes). In thanking Cartman for his gift, the pastor wrote that he valued the gift “as much for the sake of the donor as its own intrinsic worth. It will serve as another prop to Old Age”. Charlotte, in a missive to “Dear Papa”, expressed pleasure that “you continue in pretty good health” and that “Mr Cartman came to help you on Sunday.”
Tales about Cartman were relayed to me by Grannie Cartman, a dumpy, black-clad figure, by appearance not unlike Queen Victoria. My paternal grandfather, a devout Methodist who lived at Bradley, wrote sentimental articles about the Brontes, interspersing his observations with verses from hymns.
As a lad, I visited Haworth with my father at least once a year, usually in winter when the graveyard twixt church and parsonage was damp and mossy, the silence broken only by husky-voiced rooks.
Old Haworth had a sense of mystery that vanished with the clearance, from the bottom of the street, of what someone called “a hotch-potch of snickets and allotments”. It was part of a scheme to improve the traffic flow. A descendant of Jack Toothill, the village barber, told me he charged three farthings for a shave. Patrick Bronte was among his customers.

Photo: William Cartman, the former head-master at Ermysted's Grammar School, Skipton, who was a friend of the Bronte

vrijdag 2 december 2011

Biography of Charlotte Brontë

Read: Poetry foundation Charlotte BronteBrontë's poems after her return to Roe Head reflect her longing for home and for Angria as well as her anxious need to reconcile her desire to write with the necessity of continuing to teach to earn a living. The most famous of these poems, sometimes anthologized as "Retrospection," begins poignantly:      We wove a web in childhood
A web of sunny air
We dug a spring in infancy
Of water pure and fair
We sowed in youth a mustard seed
We cut an almond rod
We are now grown up to riper age
Are they withered in the sod. . . .
The poem continues for 177 more lines, developing into vividly realized scenes featuring the Duke of Zamorna. The poem then breaks into a retrospective prose narrative that is rudely interrupted by "a voice that dissipated all the charm" as a student "thrust her little rough black head into [her teacher's] face" to demand, "Miss Brontë what are you thinking about?"--a striking example of the incompatibility of Brontë's inner, imaginative life with her actual experience while at Roe Head. 
More ideas for reading:
  • Thomas J. Wise, A Bibliography of the Writings in Prose and Verse of the Members of the Brontë Family(London: Clay, 1917).
  • Jami Parkison, "Charlotte Brontë: A Bibliography of 19th Century Criticism," Bulletin of Bibliography, 35 (1978): 73-83.
  • G. Anthony Yablon and John R. Turner, A Brontë Bibliography(London: Hodgkins, 1978; Westport, Conn.: Meckler, 1978).
  • Anne Passel, Charlotte and Emily Brontë: An Annotated Bibliography(New York: Garland, 1979).
  • Christine Alexander, A Bibliography of the Manuscripts of Charlotte Brontë(Westport, Conn.: Meckler, for The Brontë Society, 1982).
  • Rebecca W. Crump, Charlotte and Emily Brontë: A Reference Guide, (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1982-1986).
  • Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, The Life of Charlotte Brontë, third edition, revised, 2 volumes (London: Smith, Elder, 1857).
  • Clement Shorter, The Brontës: Life and Letters, 2 volumes (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1908).
  • Thomas James Wise and John Alexander Symington, eds., The Brontës: Their Lives, Friendships, and Correspondence, The Shakespeare Head Brontë, 4 volumes (Oxford: Blackwell, 1932).
  • Winifred Gérin, Charlotte Brontë: The Evolution of Genius(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1967).
  • Margot Peters, Unquiet Soul: A Biography of Charlotte Brontë(New York: Doubleday, 1975).
  • Rebecca Fraser, Charlotte Brontë(London: Methuen, 1988).
  • Lyndall Gordon, Charlotte Brontë: A Passionate Life(London: Chatto & Windus, 1994; New York: Norton, 1995).
  • Juliet Barker, The Brontës (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994).
  • Christine Alexander, The Early Writings of Charlotte Brontë(Oxford: Blackwell, 1983).
  • Miriam Allott, The Brontës: The Critical Heritage(London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1974).
  • Carol Bock, "Gender and Poetic Tradition: The Shaping of Charlotte Brontë's Literary Career," Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, 7 (1988): 49-67.
  • Sue Lonoff, "Charlotte Brontë's Belgian Essays: The Discourse of Empowerment," Victorian Studies, 32 (1989): 387-409.
  • Virginia Woolf, "'Jane Eyre' and 'Wuthering Heights,'" in her The Common Reader, first series (London: Hogarth Press, 1925), pp. 196-204.

2-12- 1906 Death of Arthur Bell Nicholls.

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, but it is curious to see how much they had in common, and of course Charlotte will always link them together.

A lot of Photographs of Banagher, including the grave of Arthur Bell Nicolls:  http://flickrhivemind.net/Tags/banagher

donderdag 1 december 2011

Hand Loom Weaving in Yorkshire

There are many examples of 18th and 19th Century Bancroft families earning a living from hand loom weaving in their homes, before the invention of machinery, which made production on a large scale possible in the mills, and spelt the demise of this cottage industry.

My G/G/G Grandfather Joseph Bancroft [1755-1838] was a hand loom weaver all his life. He had 4 children with his first wife, Judith Smith, who died at the early age of only 34 years, and then went on to have a further 11 children with his second wife Ellen [Nelly] Bradley. Even at the time of his death at the grand old age of 82 years was still listed as a weaver. [An interesting fact on his burial record at Haworth, is the signature of Patrick Bronte, the famous vicar at Haworth at the time.] You will notice his cause of death on the death certificate was given as 'Old Age' which I guess is understandable, bearing in mind that there cannot have been many people who reached the age of eighty-two and three-quarters in 1838 !
Many Bancroft families, who were involved with farming, also had a hand loom in the house to supplement their income, particularly in the winter months, when there was a large family to feed and cloth. I wrote an article some time ago called ‘Auction at Fairplace Farm’ which  describes the contents of an Isaac Bancroft’s farm, called Fairplace near Cowling. When the contents of his farm was auctioned off in 1841, as well as all the usual farming implements he also had three looms!....which shows how the family all helped out to bring a bit more money into the household.
Read more:bancroftsfromyorkshire

Haworth Local Board of Health 1851 - 1860

The first recorded meeting of The Haworth Local Board of Health was on 1st December 1851.

Local Boards of Health were set up in England and Wales from 1848 to 1894. There were many diseases prevalent at the time caused by epidemics such as cholera. Boards of Health were given power to supply clean water, improving sewers and streets, and regulating premises such as slaughterhouses.

It is due to the hard work by Patrick Bronte who petitioned for a Local Board of Health in the area that was granted in 1851. Haworth Local Board of Health held its last meeting on 28th December 1894.

Christmas Events in Yorkshire

The clocks have gone back and it's starting to feel more festive in Yorkshire. So we thought we'd share a selection of Christmas themed Yorkshire activities and events to get you in the spirit!
Make sure you check out our Yorkshire Christmas Advent Calendar for loads of great prizes!

English Heritage This Christmas

English Heritage have 14 historic properties in Yorkshire, here's a selection of what's happening this Christmas.

woensdag 30 november 2011

State of The Heart - I Believe In Father Christmas (Haworth - Bronte Country)

White Christmas Haworth Main Street

Its Christmas all the way

Tomorrow is the last of my historical talks from now on its Christmas all the way, Christmas talks, carols in church, time to hunt for our Christmas tree. Last year we went to buy one the second week in Dec and couldnt find one anywhere, we ended up having to use our old fake one. New Christmas hats for the talks but also time to say hi to an old friend as its back to wearing my lovely deep red tartan Christmas dress. 

dinsdag 29 november 2011

Bronte Bears

Ferndean Manor is home of the Bronte  Bears, 
A delightful family of highly collectable teddy bears based on the Bronte family and their books. Made in-house in our own workshops and with individually hand crafted clothing. Buying a Bronte Bear is a wonderful occasion in itself. Join our designer over a  coffee by our roaring fire to discuss our range of designs and costumes. A Beary, beary special  experience.
Ferndean manor

maandag 28 november 2011


London, St Paul's Cathedral, West Front in the 1890' soldukphotoslondon
 I am searching
 for weblogs
 with information 
about the Brontes.
I think I mentioned before that I’m a member of the Brussels Brontë Group. (Brussels bronte) Charlotte and Emily lived here for a while and their experiences inspired Charlotte to write The Professor and Villette. The Group has about 50 members of 20 nationalities. We organize talks, Brontë city walks, visits to museums and last weekend 25 of us went on a Literary Weekend to London.
We lunched at the Stand Hotel with the London Brontë Society. According to them the Hotel is exactly on the spot where Charlotte and her editor George Smith came to visit aphrenologistThe “report” is still available at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth.

The group next to St. Paul’s cathedral. Charlotte visited it during a trip to London in 1842: Above my head, above the house-tops, co-elevate almost with the clouds, I saw a solemn, orbed mass, dark-blue and dim – THE DOME. While I looked, my inner self moved; my spirit shook its always-fetted wings half loose; I had a sudden feeling as if I, who had never truly lived, were at last about to taste life. (Villete) 
The group admiring the wooden door of 32 Cornhill. The bottom right-hand panel was carved to commemorate the first visit of Charlotte and Anne to their publisher in 1848 
the Sleepless reader/the-Brussels-Bronte-group-literary-weekend-in-london/
Phrenology was popular in the 1800s and the early 1900s. Phrenologists claimed that by feeling the lumps and bumps of the skull (and thus the underlying brain) they could determine someone’s character and personality. Although phrenology became popular with large numbers of people in the 1800s, it soon became controversial within medical circles, and was eventually dismissed by the medical profession as quackery. The subject was always controversial in medical circles.sciencemuseum

zondag 27 november 2011

Branwell Brontë and his friends. Enoch Thomas, the Innkeeper of the King's Arms

It sits squarely at the entrance to Church Street, which winds up to the Brontë Parsonage, past the church, graveyard and schoolrooms, where Charlotte taught.
In 1841 the Innkeeper of the King's Arms, Enoch Thomas, also ran The Black Bull and was a good friend and confident of Branwell Brontë. He suffered terrible bouts of depression, which Patrick Brontë referred to as "a very severe and great affliction". Branwell nicknamed him 'Devil's Thumb'.
A later Landlord, Joseph Fox, was a confectioner by profession and provided the fare for Emily Brontë's funeral feast.

The Talbot Hotel, Kirkgate.

The Talbot Hotel, Kirkgate.The hotel stood on the corner of Kirkgate and Darley Street; the site is occupied in 2006 by Superdrug and Orange. It dated back to 1677 and was once a famous coaching inn. The dimensions were considerable - the building stretched down to the beck and contained the old Piece Hall within its gardens. It was rebuilt in 1879 with the creation of Bank Street. The New Talbot closed in March 1974. The talbot is a type of bloodhound and stone replicas of the dog went missing from the pub upon its sale in 1974. These were later put on sale at Sotheby's in Chester. The original hound above the entrance was made of wood and bought by Mr Edward Hailstone of Wakefield who died in 1891. Branwell Bronte is said to have frequented the hotel whist lodging in Fountain Street.

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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