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 november 2012

On this day in 1842 Elizabeth Branwell died. Branwell wrote" I have now lost the guide and director of all the happy days connected with my childhood."

Elizabeth Branwell, Aunt to the Bronte children who brought them up, was buried at Haworth. She had died aged 66 on 29th October.

Aunt Branwell had always enjoyed robust good health, but on the 25th October 1842, she suffered a constriction of the bowel, and died four days later. Charlotte and Emily were still in Brussels, and returned home too late for the funeral. But Aunt Branwell's two favourites' the 'baby' Anne, and the only boy, Branwell Brontë , were both there, and it is Branwell who has left us the warmest testimonial to his aunt. Writing to his friend Grundy on the day his aunt died

Branwell concludes " I have now lost the guide and director of all the happy days connected with my childhood." Elizabeth Branwell left most of her money to Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë. They used some of it to finance their Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell (1846), the beginning of their careers as published writers. www.bronte.org.uk

When Maria Brontë was terminally ill with cancer in 1821; her sister, Elizabeth Branwell, moved into the Parsonage to help run the household. She subsequently spent the rest of her life there raising the Brontë children - to whom she was known as 'Aunt Branwell'. She provided much of the children's education, including needlework and embroidery for the girls. This rarely seen portrait was sketched in 1799, when Elizabeth was 23 years old - and many years before Maria had even met Patrick Brontë. Ellen Nussey declared that Anne was her aunt's favourite. Elizabeth Branwell died at the age of 66, on 29 October 1842, after a short, but agonising illness (believed to be a blockage of the bowel). The whole Brontë family were devastated; in particular Branwell, who, later that day, wrote to his friend Grundy:
'I am incoherent, I fear, but I have been waking two nights witnessing such agonising suffering as I would not wish my worst enemy to endure; and I have now lost the guide and director of all the happy days connected with my childhood.'mick-armitage

Edith Wharton's copy of ‘Jane Eyre' returns to The Mount in Lenox

Thanks to the generosity of a resident of Lincolnshire, England, and a friend with access to the internet, Edith Wharton's copy of "Jane Eyre" has come back safely to rest among the books in Wharton's library at The Mount.

Charlotte Bronte's masterpiece -- her story of suspense and madness and wild nights on the moors -- traveled on a still-unknown route from a trove of works Wharton had collected in The Mount, the home she built in 1902, to the far side of the Atlantic. Wharton lived in Lenox for 10 years before she left for France, where she died in 1937.   
Read more of this interesting story: 

vrijdag 2 november 2012

Miss Frances Mary Richardson Currer (1785-1861), one of the first female book collectors in Europe, scholar, acquaintance of Charlotte Bronte (and possibly the inspiration for Charlotte Bronte's pen name).

The name Bell may have been chosen by the arrival that summer of their father's new curate, Arthur Bell Nichols. While a governess at the Sidgwicks, Charlotte had certainly heard much of their neighbour, Miss Frances Mary Richardson Currer, of Eshton Hall, Skipton, whose property touched Stonegappe, and whose library was famous throughout the north. She was one of the founder patrons of the Clergy Daughters' School, so that her name must have been doubly familiar to Charlotte. The poetess Eliza Acton (1777-1859) [theDictionary of National Biography gives Acton's birth year as 1799], who had considerable success in her day and was patronized [246/247] by royalty, may have suggested Anne's pseudonym to her. There appears to be no clue to the origin of Emily's choice of name, Ellis. 
It is not impossible that Charlotte herself had access to Miss Currer's books at some point. An avid reader from childhood, the latter had inherited a fine library, kept adding to it, and ensured that her books were expertly catalogued. (See Dictionary of National Biography, XIII, 340). The second catalogue, compiled by C.J. Stewart, was privately printed (100 copies) in 1833 and is a treasure-trove for anyone interested in the reading habits of the educated pre- and early-Victorian upper class. While Miss Currer's collection featured many respectable works of natural science, she was sufficiently interested in the pseudo-scientific fashions of her day to acquire a copy of the Physiognomical System of Drs Gall and Spurzheim. The doctors were pioneers of phrenology, a school of thought whose influence on Charlotte [247/248] and Anne is patent in their novels.3 Another of the interests that Miss Currer shared with the Brontës was mental improvement, and she owned educational works by like-minded women such as Mrs Hester Chapone and Maria Edgeworth.
The fact that F.M.R. Currer supported the Clergy Daughters' School at Cowan Bridge suggests that she was one of those 'wealthy and benevolent individuals in the county' (Jane Eyre's description of the subscribers to a new and improved Lowood Institute (opening of Chapter 10). Charlotte is not likely to have blamed a founder patron for subsequent misfortunes at the institution.) whose munificence ensured the survival of charitable institutions. Her character (she was 'extremely accomplished and amiable', according to the DNB biographer) seems to have been as irreproachable as her scholarship; in 1836, the Rev. Thomas Frognall Dibdin placed her 'at THE HEAD of all female Collectors in Europe', calling her 'a sort of modern CHRISTINA of the North' (p. 949). Read more:Victorianweb

Mechanics institut at Keighley

The movement to found mechanics’ institutes was an early nineteenth-century phenomenon that quite soon became predominantly middle-class. Keighley’s was founded in 1825, and Patrick joined in 1833. The library was strong on theology and science, but the young Brontës could also find there history, biography, and poetry, which would be more to their taste, as well as fiction, including the novels of Walter Scott and the eighteenth-century novelists for whom Charlotte conceived such an aversion. Lectures were also part of the education program of the institutes: an early speaker at Keighley was Edward Baines Jr, whose 1830 lecture on “The Moral Effects of Unrestricted Commerce” was listened to by 700 people “with almost breathless silence” ( Leeds Intelligencer , 4 Mar 1830). Later lectures included William Weightman defending the study of the classics and Patrick Brontë on “The Influence of Circumstances,” which must have given him plenty of scope.

donderdag 1 november 2012

James Bancroft, was born on 27th November 1835, and baptised by the famous Patrick Bronte at Haworth Parish Church

From Bancrofts from Yorkshire
James Bancroft, was born on 27th November 1835, and baptised by the famous Patrick Bronte at Haworth Parish Church on 2nd June 1836. He was always known as “Jim o’ Abes”, which was the local way of saying James, son of Abraham. It was quite a common practice in those times to give people a nickname such as this, particularly where there were several people with the same name in a village....and there were several 'James Bancrofts', both related and unrelated, in the area around this time.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Read more on: bancrofts from yorkshire

Branwell Bronte, Freemasonry and the Knights Templar

Branwell Bronte, Freemasonry and the Knights Templar 

The origins and evolution of Freemasonry are a matter of some debate and conjecture which has been reinforced by the esoteric nature of the society and it's apparent secrecy. One particular Masonic oath reads "To all of which I do most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, without the least equivocation, mental reservation, or self evasion of mind in me whatever; binding myself under no less penalty than to have my throat cut across, my tongue torn out by the roots, and my body buried in the rough sands of the sea at low-water mark, where the tide ebbs and flows twice in twenty-four hours" This oath is sworn by the initiate whilst kneeling, blindfolded at the alter, with his hands placed on a sacred text. 
Times have changed however and many of the roots of freemasonry have now become public, it's aims, beliefs and symbols. The following explores some of the connections between the Haworth branch of freemasonry, the Knights Templar and the Brontë family. An intriguing and sometimes surprising story that will expanded on in the future including the connection with the Cavendish family and their title of Duke of Devonshire and alchemy!
Read more on Ferndean Manor

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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