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 13 juli 2013

Charlotte Bronte, a Tory

Politically a Tory, she preached tolerance rather than revolution. She held high moral principles and, despite her shyness, was prepared to argue for her beliefs.

The Taylors were an old and respected, but unconventional, Yorkshire textiles family. The six children were encouraged by their father, a fierce radical in religion and politics, to develop independence of thought and action and freedom of expression.
Joshua Taylor was an educated, cultured and strongly cosmopolitan influence upon them. The Taylors exported cloth to Europe and America and had strong European connections. They often travelled in Europe on business and pleasure and had relatives living in Brussels. In the 1830s Charlotte Brontë sometimes stayed at Red House. She greatly enjoyed her visits, writing that:
‘… the society of the Taylors is one of the most rousing
leasures I have ever known.’ (Charlotte Brontë to Ellen Nussey, 15 April 1839)

Mary Taylor later wrote about Charlotte’s visits:

‘We used to dispute about politics and religion. She, a Tory and clergyman’s daughter, was always in a minority of one in our house of violent Dissent and Radicalism.’ (Mary Taylor to Mrs Gaskell, 1856) RedHouse-MaryTaylor ----------------------------------

Tory refers to those holding a political philosophy (Toryism) commonly regarded as based on a traditionalist and conservative view which grew out of the Cavalier faction in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. It is a prominent ideology in the politics of the United Kingdom.
English Tories from the time of the Glorious Revolution up until the Reform Bill of 1832 were characterized by strong monarchist tendencies, support for the Church of England, and hostility to reform, while the Tory Party was an actual organization which held power intermittently throughout the same period.[11] Since 1832, the term "Tory" is commonly used to refer to the Conservative Party and its members. wiki/Tory  

The Conservative Party traces its origins to a faction, rooted in the 18th-century Whig Party, that coalesced around William Pitt the Younger (Prime Minister of Great Britain 1783–1801 and 1804–1806). Originally known as "Independent Whigs", "Friends of Mr Pitt", or "Pittites", after Pitt's death the term "Tory" came into use. This was an allusion to the Tories, a political grouping that had existed from 1678, but which had no organisational continuity with the Pittite party. From about 1812 on the name "Tory" was commonly used for the newer party. wiki/Conservative_Party

Mr. Bronte himself had been living amongst these very people in 1812, as he was then clergyman at Hartshead, not three miles from Rawfolds; and, as I have mentioned, it was in these perilous times that he began his custom of carrying a loaded pistol continually about with him. For not only his Tory politics, but his love and regard for the authority of the law, made him despise the cowardice of the surrounding magistrates, who, in their dread of the Luddites, refused to interfere so as to prevent the destruction of property. The clergy of the district were the bravest men by far. There was a Mr. Roberson, of Heald's Hall, a friend of Mr. Bronte's, who has left a deep impression of himself on the public mind. He lived near Heckmondwike, a large, straggling, dirty village, not two miles from Roe Head. It was principally inhabited by blanket weavers, who worked in their own cottages; and Heald's Hall is the largest house in the village, of which Mr. Roberson was the vicar. At his own cost, he built a handsome church at Liversedge, on a hill opposite the one on which his house stood, which was the first attempt in the West Riding to meet the wants of the overgrown population, and made many personal sacrifices for his opinions, both religious and political, which were of the true old-fashioned Tory stamp. He hated everything which he fancied had a tendency towards anarchy. He was loyal in every fibre to Church and king; and would have proudly laid down his life, any day, for what he believed to be right and true. But he was a man of an imperial will, and by it he bore down opposition, till tradition represents him as having something grimly demoniac about him. egaskell/cbronte

Disraeli is not the only early Victorian Tory novelist whose brilliance puts today's fictionally challenged Conservative MPs in the shade. This writer was intensely interested in politics from early childhood and was reactionary enough to have opposed the franchise-extending Reform Bill of 1832. Perhaps surprisingly to those who see her as a radical feminist, I'm talking about Charlotte Brontë, who made her contribution to the "condition of England" novel in 1849, a few years after Disraeli completed his trilogy.
Shirley, Charlotte Brontë's second published novel, is a story of industrial unrest and class conflict which confounds some of today's critics with its failure to address Chartism. Yet to appreciate it artistically it's important not to make anachronistic judgments. Indeed, putting it in a Disraelian context might be a new way of making sense of this novel which many readers, fresh from the exhilaration of reading the more instantly appealing Jane Eyre, have found so strange and difficult.
Though she retained her hero-worship of the Duke of Wellington, Brontë had by 1849 modified her politics to the extent that she could no longer be accused of being an intransigent "high Tory". The high Tories in Shirley are shown to be as limited in their way as the Whig manufacturer whose heart has become a machine. Instead, in the character of Shirley Keeldar, Brontë offers something that looks suspiciously like a modified Young England Toryism. As an enlightened aristocrat, Shirley is the fount of regeneration in the district: not only does she relieve the distress of the poor with her paternalistic charity, but the manufacturing interests are dependent on her too if they are to survive (in a more humane form). She is also close to the land, which she worships as mother nature in Romantic vein, and prefers feeling and imagination to reason and commerce.  In her flambuoyant disregard for social convention, Shirley has what could almost be called a female Byronism which recalls the young Disraeli. If, politically, the novel has something in common with Young England, aesthetically it harks back to Disraeli's earlier works. Despite the dazzling figure of Shirley Keeldar, though, the novel is fundamentally anti-idealistic. Its anti-Utopian stance sets it in a line of Tory pessimism going right back to Swift and Dr Johnson. guardianreview


Besides Mary Taylor's deep friendship with Charlotte Bronte, there are many other motivations to read this fascinating novel. Mary Taylor is wonderful at descriping the working class as complex and interesting characters and her politics are more radical than Charlotte's. Taylor manages to capture the Yorkshire dialect without snobishness. Charlotte was a political Tory/conservative and could often write harsly of the poor working class struggle for equality and respect (see her novel Shirley). And for anyone who has studied Victorian feminism, this novel is a great reflecting point. It's a shame that Mary Taylor did NOT save her letters from Charlotte nor hand them over to biographer and fellow Victorian novelist aElizabeth Gaskell, because the intellectual and literary discussions the two writers would have engaged in would have been fascinating to read -- especially their positions on women's education, marriage, children, and careers. Miss-Miles-Tale-Yorkshire-Years 

vrijdag 12 juli 2013

The Taylors

Red House. House of the Taylors

Taylor, Joshua (known as Joshua II) (1766–1840):
Father of Mary. His family had been involved in the cloth trade for many generations. He himself was of a type new and fascinating to Charlotte when she visited the family: he was a manufacturer who could talk broad Yorkshire when it suited him, where others might be fearful of compromising their “gentry” status, but who was a traveled man, a first-rate French speaker, and one who kept abreast of artistic and intellectual trends in Britain and (especially) on the Continent. So a figure who was radical (in the early nineteenth-century sense), a republican, and a man of wide culture invaded Charlotte’s Tory, provincially limited mind, to exhilarating effect. She found the whole family much more stimulating than the Nusseys, and Joshua contributed to various families in the juvenilia, as well as eventually to Mr De Capell in “Ashworth,” York Hunsden in The Professor , and Mr Yorke in Shirley . When Charlotte knew Joshua he had been a declared bankrupt since 1826. He was determined to repay in full the losses of “my suffering creditors” ( Leeds Intelligencer , 16 Feb 1826), and they in their turn realized it was better for the cloth-manufacturing concern, with its lucrative government contracts for army uniform cloth, to continue. Initially five shillings in the pound was paid, but three years after Joshua II’s death the creditors had been paid off in full.

Taylor, Mrs Anne (1781–1856):
Mother of Mary, disliked by Charlotte and apparently by nearly everyone she came in contact with. She is depicted as Mrs Yorke in Shirley – autocratic, narrow-minded, repressing every sign of joy, originality, and vigor in those around her. After her husband’s death her children fled the Red House, except Joshua, who with his family stuck with her until 1845, when he left her in sole occupancy of the family home for the rest of her life – years in which she probably fulfilled Charlotte’s prophecy that “her unhappy disposition is preparing for her a most desolate old age” (to EN, 20 Nov 1845). The nature of her relationship with her energetic and free-thinking husband is a mystery. Charlotte speaks of her having “made her spouse give up his pre-matrimonial friends & kin” (to EN, 3 or 10 Aug 1851?), a piece of subservience on his part that seems quite out of character both with his real-life character and his depiction as Mr Yorke. In Shirley Charlotte suggested that Yorke’s “shadowy side found sympathy and affinity in . . . his wife’s uniformly overcast nature” (ch. 9). This seems an unsatisfactory explanation for the real-life situation. It seems likely that Joshua left to his wife the early upbringing of the children, hence Mary’s declaration that they never “ventured to speak at all” (MT to CB, 13 Aug 1850)

Taylor, Joshua (known as Joshua III) (1812–80):
Son of the above. He inherited leadership of the family business on his father’s death, and the Red House on his mother’s (he and his family had tried to live with his widowed mother, but the experiment had predictably failed). His wife was a Moravian, and the family was active in that church. He seems to have run the business competently, employing a large workforce, but his nature was moody, jealous, and changeable (Charlotte’s unattractive and menacing picture of him as Matthew Yorke in Shirley seems to have been generally accepted), and he is never mentioned by his sister Mary. At the end of his life he became a victim of grasping spiritualists. 

Taylor, Joseph (Joe) (?1816–57):
Brother of Mary Taylor, whom he helped and supported during her early years in New Zealand. He was the male Taylor who most fascinated Charlotte, as a human study in himself, and perhaps because she realized she had not exhausted his possibilities in the character of Martin Yorke in Shirley . He was talented, mercurial, and often generous. He was also aggressive, self-obsessed, and inconsiderate. Charlotte speaks of his “organ of combativeness and contradiction” (to EN, 1 July 1852), but could at times admire his devotion and “great kindness” to his wife and to the child to which they both showed “unbounded indulgence” (to MW, 30 Aug 1853). She spoke most admiringly of the young Joe – “worthy of being liked and admired also” (to EN, late June 1843?) – but as his puppyish self-regard and heedlessness took hold of him she lost patience with him entirely. Joe for his part managed to call at the Parsonage surprisingly often, not from any romantic interest in Charlotte, so perhaps because he valued her judgment, wanted to impress her, or eventually because she was a “celebrity” to be cultivated. She, for her part, thought well enough of him to make him a trustee of her wedding settlement. It was in the years after Brussels that Charlotte was most critical of him, particularly his heartlessness and chronic inclination to flirt with vulnerable single women.

Taylor, Mary (1817–93):

Daughter of Joshua Taylor II, a school friend of Charlotte’s at Roe Head who remained her friend for life: to her other lifelong school friend, Ellen Nussey, Charlotte wrote: “I have in fact two friends you & her staunch & true” (20 Jan 1842). Mary Taylor’s account of their schooldays together enlivens Gaskell’s Life (ch. 2), particularly the visual impression Charlotte made on her (“a little old woman, so short-sighted that she always appeared to be seeking something”) and her reaction to Charlotte’s account of the games and compulsive writing of herself and her siblings (“I told her sometimes they were like growing potatoes in a cellar”). However, her memory that Charlotte spoke with a strong Irish accent has been questioned. The friendship between Charlotte and Mary flourished after they left Roe Head, and there were frequent references to letters passing between them – letters almost all now lost, since they were not kept. When Charlotte went to teach at Roe Head the intimacy with the whole family could be resumed. Mary and Martha stayed at the Parsonage in June 1838, and Mary alone in June 1840 and December 1844. On one of these first two occasions, if Charlotte’s observation was correct, Mary began to conceive a romantic interest in Branwell, whose attitude to her changed immediately to contempt – an interesting sidelight on both characters.

Taylor Martha (1819–42):
Tthe ebullient and charming youngest daughter of the Taylors, often described by Charlotte in adjectives connoting childish qualities, though in fact she was only her junior by three years. She knew Martha at home, and then at Roe Head, and words like “chatter,” “clatter,” and “vivacity” cling to her accounts of her, as well as references to her “constant flow of good-humour” (to EN, 9 June 1838). This was during the visit Mary and Martha made to the Parsonage, a notable milestone in the relationship between the families. Even when Charlotte complains of her, there is a good-humored toleration behind the words: “you have a peculiar fashion of your own of reporting a saying or a doing and Martha has a still more peculiar fashion of re-reporting it” (to EN, 17 Mar 1840). The close relationship continued in Brussels where she and Mary were pupils at the Château de Kockleberg (more expensive than the Pensionnat Heger). Taylors, Dixons, and Brontës enjoyed frequent meetings, marred only by Emily’s noncommunication. Martha’s end came quickly – so much so that Charlotte heard of it too late to visit the deathbed. The cause of her death was almost certainly cholera – the idea that she might have died in childbirth rests more on speculation than documentation, and the haste of her burial and lack of information on the death certificate were probably a vain attempt to protect the school from ...

Taylor, Ellen (1826–51):
Cousin of the Red House Taylors, daughter of William and Margaret (née Mossman) Taylor, both of whom died in the 1830s. A maternal uncle, G. R. Mossman, cared for her for some time, and another uncle, Abraham Dixon, took an interest. Plans to send her to the Heger school in Brussels were abortive, and in 1849 she and her brother William Henry sailed for New Zealand, where their cousins Mary and Waring Taylor had been established for some years. By then she was probably already tubercular, but Mary had great joy in the early days of their companionship and partnership. They established and ran a shop, each alternating housework and shopwork week by week. Letters, sometimes joint ones, speak of their happiness together: they sketch on Sundays, hoping to send a batch home, though they “seldom succeed in making the slightest resemblance to the thing we sit down to” (MT to CB, 5 Apr 1850); they go out more, because Ellen is a more welcome guest than Mary alone was; they talk about how much profit will secure an “independence” and enable them to return home. The shop was a modest success, aided by gifts from Mary’s brothers John and Joe. But all the time there is the undercurrent of Ellen’s ill-health. “I fear hers will not be a long life” wrote Charlotte, experienced in short female lives (to EN, 6 Jan 1852). blackwellreference


Birth: b. 26 Feb 1817, Gomersall; d. 01 Mar 1893, High Royd Gomersall
"Quiet but self-possessed, she was an admirable businesswoman, with a way of going straight to the point that was at times disconcerting...Miss Taylor was indeed a remarkable woman - probably in her mental endowments the strongest woman who came within the Bronte circle". Cleckheaton Guardian 24 Dec 1903. maggieblanck/Taylor

donderdag 11 juli 2013

Casterton School, the former Cowan Bridge

Not unexpected but sad news anyway from Casterton School, the former Cowan Bridge. In The Westmoreland Gazettte
Nearly 200 years of education for girls has come to an end with parents, pupils and staff bidding an emotional farewell to Casterton School.
The independent boarding school, near Kirkby Lonsdale, merged with Sedbergh School in March with the amalgamation kicking in from September.
On Saturday, British yachtswoman Dee Caffari was guest speaker at a special assembly, which formed part of the annual speech day and prize-giving ceremony.
There were tears as the occasion marked not only the end of term, but the end of an era – the last full day of the 190-year-old school whose first pupils included the Brontë sisters.
Casterton School is an independent boarding and day school for ages 3 to 18 years in the village of Casterton in rural Cumbria. Boys are admitted up until age 11 years. Boarding is for girls only from age 8 and above.


Casterton School was founded in 1823 by Rev Carus Wilson as the Clergy Daughters' School in Cowan Bridge to educate daughters of financially disadvantaged clergymen. It moved to its current site at Casterton in 1833. Four of the Brontë sisters (Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte and Emily) attended the former Cowan Bridge School. A stone inscription to commemorate this is present at the original site and the current Casterton School still acknowledges the literary connection by naming buildings accordingly.
In 2000 boys were admitted to the junior school.[1]
Following a decline in pupil numbers, in March 2013 a merger was announced with Sedbergh School, effective from September 2013. Casterton's prep department will remain on its site as Sedbergh's junior school will be moved there. Senior pupils will transfer to the main campus in Sedbergh.[2]

Wilson, Rev William Carus (1791–1859):

Wealthy clergyman, ordained in 1816 (after having earlier been refused ordination because of “Calvinist” tendencies), the founder of the Clergy Daughters’ School, situated first at Cowan Bridge, later at Casterton (and still there as Casterton School). He was, in many of his aspects, the original of Mr Brocklehurst in Jane Eyre . The school undoubtedly answered to a great need, both educating and where possible finding posts as teachers or governesses for the daughters of clergymen. Wilson was clearly sharp-eyed and intelligent in identifying spheres for action, as in his later concern for British and foreign soldiers, and for the education of servants. His wealth, and the tenacity of his character, meant that he was generally to be found when evangelical causes were being promoted in the North of England. The outlines of a case for him can be found in Wroot’s Persons and Places (1935), where an obituary of him by the then Bishop of Rochester speaks of him as “the father of the cheap religious literature of the day” and its “blessed results,” and sums up his character as “remarkable for energy and a moral courage that was sometimes sublime, a most singular forgetfulness of self, and the deepest humility.” The reason we are surprised by this is attributable to Charlotte’s Brontë’s great novel. blackwellreference 

Nice knowlidge:
Bronte House was formed in 1933 and named in honour of Charlotte Bronte. Bronte was originally called 'Charlotte Bronte House' hence the CB on the badge. Charlotte Bronte based her novel Jane Eyre on Cowan Bridge School, the predecessor of Casterton School


maandag 8 juli 2013

"Where did you get this?" said he.

On this day in 1848 Charlotte and Anne Bronte visited London to meet their publisher and revealed their true identity. The Bronte sisters had been using the pseudonyms Acton Currer and Bell.

Read what happened on this day kleurrijkbrontesisters/-charlotte-and-anne

In George’s account of the meeting he said:

“That Saturday morning I was at work in my room, when a clerk reported that two ladies wished to see me. I was very busy and sent out to ask their names. The clerk returned to say that the ladies declined to give their names, but wished to see me on a private matter… Two rather quaintly dressed little ladies, pale-faced and anxious-looking… one of them came forward and presented me with a letter addressed in my own handwriting to ‘Currer Bell, Esq.’ I noticed that the letter had been opened, and said, with some sharpness, ‘Where did you get this?’

‘From the post-office,’ was the reply; ‘it was addressed to me. We have both come that you might have ocular proof that there are at least two of us. This then was `Currer Bell' in person. I need hardly say that I was at once keenly interested, not to say excited. Mr. Williams was called down and introduced, and I began to plan all sorts of attentions to our visitors. I tried to persuade them to come and stay at our house.


A two-day festival in Haworth celebrating the increasingly popular Steampunk movement could attract hundreds of aficionados from across the country. Scheduled to take place in November, the event would be the first of its kind in the district, and organisers hope it eventually becomes as successful as a similar gathering in Whitby.

The Steampunk movement is based around the idea of science fiction set in the past, specifically the Victorian era – a world that incorporates steam power and other Victorian technology, rather than electricity and computers.

She added: “The outfits are exquisite, so much time money and effort goes into them. They would look so good wandering down our main street. We’ve got the old buildings and the steam railway – Haworth is the perfect surrounding to do something like this. It’s different from what it’s seen before, something exciting and different, but it still complements the normal Victorian Christmas celebrations. Read all: thetelegraphandargus

zondag 7 juli 2013

The Nussey Family

Ellen Nussey was a friend of Charlotte Bronte. She was born in 1817. She was the daughter of John Nussey and Ellen Wade. Ellen Nussey attended Roe Head School where Margaret Wooler was headmistress, and where she met Charlotte Bronte. Ellen Nussey died in 1897.

Nussey was the twelfth child of John Nussey, a cloth merchant of Birstall Smithies, near Gomersal in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and his wife Ellen, née Wade. Nussey first attended a small local school before progressing to the Gomersal Moravian Ladies Academy. Nussey and Brontë first met in January 1831, when they were both pupils at Roe Head School, near Dewsbury in Yorkshire. They corresponded with each other regularly over the next 24 years, each writing hundreds of letters to the other.

Richard Nussey was born in 1803. He was the son of John Nussey and Ellen Wade. Richard Nussey married Elizabeth Charnock. Richard Nussey Inherited uncle Richard Nussey's interest in the family's mills at Birstall: also leased New Mill, Holbeck. Later inherited father-in-law's two mills at Meadows lane, Leeds. He was; said to have built Brookroyd House.1 He died in 1872.

Joshua Nussey was born circa 1799. He was the son of John Nussey and Ellen Wade. Joshua Nussey died in 1871.

Sarah Walker Nussey was born in 1809. She was the daughter of John Nussey and Ellen Wade. Sarah Walker Nussey died in 1843.

George Nussey was born in 1814. He was the son of John Nussey and Ellen Wade. George Nussey died in 1885. vivientomlinson

Children of John Nussey and Ellen Wade

      The Rydings (Birstall)  
      Ellen Nussey`s first home

    Ann Nussey  Later Clapham (1795–1878), eldest sister of Ellen Nussey; a capable housekeeper for Revd Henry Nussey, and later for the family at Brookroyd. Charlotte Brontë appreciated her sympathy at times of ... oxfordreference/Nussey

    When Ellen Nussey died (26 Nov 1897 aged 80) it is said that people were surprised at how liitle she had to leave. William Carr had invested her (and her sisters) money (left to them by her brother Richard) in Pennsylvanian Railway Bonds - these were left to her nephew John Thomas Hartley Nussey in Australia.
    It shows Ellen Nussey (1817-1897) and two of her brothers (John 1794-1862) and William (1807-1862) who were both apothecaries archiver.rootsweb.ancestry

    Nussey, John (1793–1862):

    Eldest brother of Ellen, and London general practitioner and apothecary. He was early successful under the aegis of his cousin (and eventual father-in-law) Richard Walker, and he was apothecary to George IV and his two successors, being in attendance (in the next room) during some of Queen Victoria’s numerous confinements. Ellen made two long visits to him in 1834 and 1837, probably to help with the family rather than to sample the pleasures of London. The picture that emerges of him through Charlotte’s letters (and we must remember that we have no documents in which the lesser Nusseys speak for themselves) is of a selfish, grasping man who fails to honor his family obligations and is especially neglectful of his mother and sisters. She sees him as of "the world" and "cold-blooded" (to EN, 10 and 17 Sep 1851), and she included his wife Mary in this judgment: "Madame herself thought fitting to call, very stately in her carriage" she wrote to Ellen (28 Jan 1853) during her last visit to London, indicating confidence in a shared opinion. There is much comment on John in letters of mid-1849 when he proposed a financial arrangement whereby his sisters would will their property to him or his heirs and in return he would cancel debts they owed him ("offers to relinquish a present claim in your sisters’ favour" is the phrase of Charlotte’s that suggests this arrangement, rather than a compensating

    Nussey, Mary (Mercy) (1801–86):
    Sister of Ellen. She was for a time a member of the Moravian Single Sisters’ House at Fairfield, where she was given the name Mercy. See Margaret Connor, "Clerical Connections" (BS, v. 28, p. 1, March 2003) for the Moravian sisterhood. Charlotte’s early references to her are more affectionate than most of her references to the Nusseys, and at one point she seems to have aroused Ellen’s jealousy by trying to start an independent correspondence with her. Later, however, the mentions of her conform to the norm by being tinged with exasperation: she distrusts her judgment, regrets that she rather than Ellen has most to do with George in his time of mental breakdown, and concludes that the trouble she causes others springs from "the wilfulness of a weak person" (to EN, 11 May 1850). This irritation leads her to her most extreme judgment: "I suppose that is her use – to test and try others like a fiery furnace" (to EN, 10 May 1851). She was the family fowl-keeper, taught in a small school, and was frequently ill. Juliet Barker presents as fact that the "forty-one years old" Mercy (she was actually 48) was "so jealous of her elder sister’s good fortune that she threatened the happiness of the whole household" (Barker, 1994, p. 602). This is unfair, resting only on a conjecture of Charlotte that she had "some little sense of bitterness" that Ann rather than she was to be married

    Nussey, Richard (1803–72):
    Brother of Ellen, he helped to run the family firm, moving to Leeds when he married Elizabeth Charnock (1846) to live in her family home in Woodhouse Lane. Charlotte, who had met him on the Bolton Abbey excursion of 1833, describes him and his wife as " very vulgar in their mode of shewing their feelings" (to EN, 20 Sep 1851?). He inherited his father-in-law’s mills in Leeds and, since the marriage was childless and his wife predeceased him, his sisters Ann, Mercy and Ellen benefited from his death

    Nussey, Joseph (1797–1846):
    Second-eldest brother of Ellen, who for a time was engaged in the woolen industry. By the mid-1840s he was described by Charlotte (to EN, 31 July 1845) as a "burthen" on his mother – one that his brothers, particularly John, should have her relieved of. By the time of his death she talks openly of his sufferings being "taken as sufficient expiation for his errors" (to EN, soon after 3 June 1846). The deduction that he was dissolute seems correct, but whether this consisted simply of alcoholism or included other sins is unknown. Clearly Joseph was the Nusseys’ Branwell – one more bond between Ellen and Charlotte

    Nussey, George (1814–85):
    Brother of Ellen. He seems to have been the dearest to her of all her brothers – partly from closeness in age, partly perhaps from his willingness to engage in her interests and her friendships. He is mentioned often in Charlotte’s letters from Roe Head, and he was one of the Nussey party who explored Bolton Abbey and its environs with the Brontës. The onset of his mental illness in the early 1840s was particularly distressing to Ellen, and the fact that he had at this time a fiancée, Amelia Ringrose, cemented a friendship between these two. One element that added to the traumatic nature of this crisis was that George, in his delusions, turned against his family (as his aged mother was later to do when she was ill). This fact was often commented upon by Charlotte: "[h]is delusion is of the most painful kind for his relations – how strange that in his eye affection should be transformed into hatred – it is as if the mental vision were inverted" (to EN, 17 Nov 1846). He never regained his sanity, the engagement was abandoned, and he had to be cared for by outsiders for the rest of his life

    Nussey, Joshua (1798–1871):
    Third-eldest of the Nussey sons, who went into the Church and married in 1832 Anne Alexander, 10 years his senior. Though Ellen stayed with them several times, and took refuge at their Oundle vicarage after leaving the Upjohns, with whom she had contemplated going to live as a companion, she seems to have disliked both of them, and her best friends Mary Taylor and Charlotte joined her in disparaging them. "Is she a frog or a fish –?" asked Charlotte (to EN, 19 Jan 1847?), "She is certainly a specimen of some kind of cold-blooded animal." She returns to her (and Ellen’s) distaste for the pair a week later, for it seems to be them she is talking about when she describes "the coldness, dreariness, and barrenness of these respected individuals’ minds and hearts" (to EN, 28 Jan 1847?). Joshua’s attainments and judgment were similarly disparaged by Mary Taylor


    Brookroyd (Birstall)  
    After the death of Ellen`s father, the family had to give up The Rydings. They relocated to Brookroyd.

    The Black Bull

    Not looking markedly different from nowadays, this was the Black Bull Inn as photographed very shortly after the Brontes’ time in Haworth, with W Sugden dispensing his “wines &c”.
    The Sugden family – first John, then William and then Mrs Rebecca – ran the Black Bull for more than 30 years, with William as publican during the 1860s.
    The photograph has been supplied by Mrs Muriel Crook, of Ryecroft, Harden, who as Muriel Waller spent her younger days at the Black Bull till her family left it in 1954. As she puts it, she “was raised, grew up and married here”.

    She regrets its subsequent modernisation: “Gone forever is the ‘Bronte Room’, with Branwell’s chair (a replica, I admit) and the bell pull above it.”

    She still has a visitors’ book from her family’s tenure, “though this began in 1909 at the Old Hall in Leeds, the first of many of my family’s hotels until we sold the last one in 1954 and I broke the chain”.  keighleynews/The_Black_Bull

    Jane Eyre - The Book Club - July 2013

    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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