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 22 juni 2012

Bronte book lovers on the web

There is also a rather lovely small press miniature book:
Charlotte Bronte and Mary Taylor: Early Feminists by Suzanne Smith Pruchnicki. Illinois, The Brontë Press, 1999

Given my love for the Bronte sisters classics "Jane Eyre" and "Wuthering Heights", it was a no-brainer for me when I saw these little lovelies
Not to long ago I stubmbled upon this wonderful, in depth article about the Bronte Sisters and a lost (found and recently autctioned) book by Charlotte. 


maandag 18 juni 2012

Migrants to Haworth

From John Hearfield (click) ( A period after the Bronte family was living in Haworth. But interesting to know what happened some years later. And a beautiful old picture of Haworth).
Haworth Main St

Because my oldest friend lives in Haworth, I have investigated the 19thC town in some detail, including making transcripts of the 1871, 1881 and 1891 censuses. Haworth is up on the moors above Keighley and is the West Riding mill town closest to the Yorkshire dales. Bleak and windswept, even now you can walk out of the town on to the moors, which would have given an illusion of familiarity to the migrants. The 1880s and 90s Heads of Households, often their wives, certainly their children, all worked at the many jobs which made up the textile trade, from washing, combing, carding and spinning the yarn, to weaving and finishing the fine worsted for which the town was famous.

Of the 51 Heads of Household who left Swaledale for the West Riding between 1881 and 1891, forty-four households - 323 people - came to Haworth. In 1881, the average age of those 323 people was just 16 - an awful lot of young children accompanied their parents and most of them were working in the mills by 1891.

zondag 17 juni 2012

Postmaster at Haworth

There is some confusion over which property on the Main St is the actual Post Office during the Brontes In the Trade Directory it states that between 1830-1857 William Hartley was Postmaster at Haworth, a  map of Haworth 1853 clearly shows the property in the photograph as the Post Office. 
In 1861 Edwin Feather became Postmaster, the post Office  located to another property, the Brontes were all dead by this time.
To confuse matters a book by Claude Meeker "Haworth home of the Brontes" (1895) claims a Samuel Feather as being the Postmaster. There is no known record of him as a Postmaster or living in Haworth. It has to be noted that at the time this book was published there was considerable interest in the Brontes and all sorts of claims were made. Haworth-village


In the village, the old post office is now a general stationers run by Margaret Hartley, whose family have been in business in the village for more than 350 years.
'My great-great-great-grandad was the postmaster and served the Brontes,' says Margaret, 74. 'And this is the counter that the girls passed their manuscripts over.' 

'The girls' is how the people of Haworth refer to Anne, Charlotte and Emily Bronte, as if they were family.

Leaving behind the parsonage and the post office and heading along a steep footpath into the hills, the church bells (curate Bronte's old church, but rebuilt) and the steam engines running on the Keighley and Worth Valley railway are all I can hear.

The path is riddled with nettles - I imagine Emily's long skirts would have saved her from stings. As it winds around the hillside and narrows, the fields on the high side are replaced by rough moorland. Then slowly, the fields on the low side fade away too, and either side is no longer luxuriant green but browned, waist-high bracken, tough grass and blushing heather.
There's a single huge, upright grey stone, shaped like a throne, where Emily sat to gather her thoughts.

She took the natural features around her home and worked them into her novel, so every pile of stones holds a heavy meaning: the real-life Ponden Kirk became fictional Peniston Crag, where Cathy ponders her troubled life, and Ponden Hall became Thrushcross Grange, home of the Linton family that Cathy marries into, tearing her away from her true love.

Metal thieves strip lead from roof of historic church where Bronte sisters are buried

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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