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 11 oktober 2013

The Bronte birthplace inside


 From the Bronte blog:

The Telegraph and Argusdevotes its leading article to celebrating the fact that Haworth has been taken out of the Heritage at Risk register.
The supposed decline of Haworth was blamed on modern, jarring signage being put up on historic buildings, advertising boards cluttering the streets and older buildings falling into disrepair.
Now, thankfully, English Heritage has withdrawn Haworth from its at-risk register after a solid three years of efforts by the local community to improve the village.
Many old buildings have been returned to their original glory, there has been a clean-up of advertising signs and clutter, and a lot of work has been done to restore the stone setts on Main Street and spruce up the Bronte schoolroom attraction.
English Heritage, though, does warn that there is still plenty of work that needs to be done to bring Haworth up to the standard that the village truly deserves.
It is a salutary warning, and one which needs to be taken seriously, but at the same time it shouldn’t detract from the hard work that has been carried out to improve this historic village.
It is a prime example of a community working together with the local authority and other agencies to take pride in their environment and improve the village for both residents and visitors, and should be applauded.
And another article in the same newspaper focuses on the news as well.
Programmes that helped remove the village from the list include works to improve the Bronte schoolroom, a £622,887 programme to re-lay setts on Main Street, and returning several buildings to their original state.
The work has been carried out with help from organisations including English Heritage, Bradford Council and Haworth Parish Council.
The Council today announced they will review the Haworth Conservation Area, involving the community to develop a strategy to make sure the village never slides back on to the “at risk” list.
Haworth Parish Council vice-chairman Peter Hill said: “The fact that we’re not on the list any more is a move in the right direction towards Haworth being recognised as an iconic place to visit.
“And it’s important it’s understood that for Haworth to remain one of the leading tourist attractions in the north of England it must not suffer from over-development.”
Councillor Val Slater, executive member for planning at Bradford Council, said: “Haworth is one of Bradford’s gems and the local community is rightly very proud of it.
“We made a big investment in new setts to help improve the condition of the village and we are committed to working with local people to review the Conservation Area and to ensure people understand how they can play their part in keeping Haworth unique.”
Averil Kenyon, a member of Bronte Spirit, who worked to improve the Bronte Schoolroom, said: “Haworth does seem improved, but I think the schoolroom is still vulnerable.”
Bronte Society chairman Sally McDonald said: “That Haworth is to be taken off the at risk register is a credit to what has been achieved by English Heritage, everyone in the village and Bradford Council in recent years.”
Trevor Mitchell, regional director for planning at English Heritage visited Haworth in August, when he pleaded with businesses and local organisations to keep up the good work. After the announcement he said: “The turnaround was very quick, and I think that was because of the very active local community.
“Putting Haworth on the register was a necessary thing to do, at the time it looked like it was getting worse. Now it looks like it is getting better, and we’re optimistic it will keep getting better.
“It is good news the council have announced they will carry out a new conservation area appraisal, that will help decide what still needs to be done. We certainly think advertising signs is a big issue that needs dealing with.” (Chris Young)
The Yorkshire Post also mentions the news.

woensdag 9 oktober 2013

In Brontë footsteps

At the time Haworth was quite a prosperous place and, situated only a few miles from Keighley, was certainly not completely removed from society and culture. Haworth itself had a Philosophical Society, formed in 1780 and later a Mechanics Institute was established in the village offering a library, newsroom and lecture hall. Both Charlotte and Patrick Brontë were strong supporters of the Institute which moved in 1853 to new premises, now the Villette café in Main Street. “There was a lot going on,” says Christine. “There was the brass band, formed in 1854, and there were orchestral and choral concerts – the Messiah was performed in the church for the inauguration of the new organ. Most people in the village had multiple occupations, mostly connected with the textile industry. So you would have a farmer who was also a handloom weaver or an ironmonger who was also a yarn twister.”
A lot of the work was done in factories – the biggest in Haworth was Bridgehouse Mills in the valley below the village and features on the trail – but some of the processes, like woolcombing, could be carried out in people’s homes.
Another big industry in Haworth was beers, wines and spirits – reflected in the fact that for a relatively small place there were four inns.
“The industry was mostly in the hands of the Thomas family,” says Christine. “They had a lot of the property at the top of the village and owned and managed all four of the pubs. There is a small group of cottages – Gaugers Croft – which were known locally as ‘Brandy Row’ because the Thomases, who owned them, would give bottles of brandy to their tenants for Christmas.”
One of the sons, Enoch Thomas, was a drinking partner of Branwell’s and died of inflammation of the liver within a year of his friend. His widow went on to marry the local physician Dr John Wheelhouse who attended both Anne and Branwell in their last months (Emily refused to see him but he signed her death certificate) and about whom Branwell once wrote a scurrilous piece of doggerel, one of his last poems.
“In it he appears to be praising Wheelhouse but he is actually highlighting his faults,” says Christine. “The doctor had obviously upset him in some way – he had probably advised him to stop drinking.
Read more: yorkshirepost

maandag 7 oktober 2013

I received this nice letter of someone who visited The Bronte Parsonage Museum.

I love your blog on the Brontes and wanted to write to let you know how much pleasure it has given me to browse through the immense amount of material you have collected.

I visited the Parsonage at Haworth for the first time last month and their story has haunted me ever since. My girlfriend  and I arrived there just after lunch on a typically overcast, dull and windy Yorkshire day. The house was just being 'invaded' by a large party of American and Japanese tourists but we were able to slip quietly in before them as they stood waiting for their guide outside. The house completely entranced me. To stand in the room where the sisters used to walk around the table and see the sofa where poor Emily breathed her last breath made me feel slightly giddy. 

We were particularly fascinated by Charlotte's tiny dresses, stockings and shoes and by the tiny handwriting. To learn that Branwell, Emily and Anne all died within such a very short space of time was a real shock to us. 

One can only imagine how their poor father, often unjustly labelled an uncaring tyrant, must have grieved for them all and how empty that big house must have felt with just himself and Charlotte living there for a while. 

Afterwards, we walked into the town for coffee and then, with the light beginning to fade, drove along the road and followed the signs to Top Withens. Unfortunately, with the weather closing in and the need to get back home to Buxton in Derbyshire, we had to cut our walk short. 

We could see the tree and the ruined cottage around half a mile distant. Frustrating! But we will be back. It was certainly lonely up there on the moors. Just ourselves, a blustery, dark and cloudy day and the huge expanse of the moors around us.

Picture Top Withens: pilgrimchris

Andrew Heaton, a descendant of the Heatons of Haworth

The Yorkshire Post tells the story of Andrew Heaton, a descendant of the Heatons of Haworth who has written a book, Never had a better, tracing his origins:
“My father was a well-respected sheepdog trial enthusiast and was also the first sheepdog trial winner of the new millennium when on January 1, 2000, high on the moors above Brontë country at Moor Lodge Farm, Oakworth he won the New Year’s Day trial with his dog Ben. Ironically I was to return to Brontë country many times in this past year as I uncovered stories that linked my family with both Emily and Patrick Brontë.” (...)
While Andrew has been able to find actual references and dates for over 500 years worth of Heaton family history, none is likely to capture the imagination more than a romantic entwinement with Robert Heaton of Ponden Hall and Emily Brontë. And there is enough conjecture for Andrew to mount an extremely plausible storyline.
The Heatons are inextricably linked with Haworth via the inscription on the bottom of the stained glass window in the Brontë chapel of Haworth Parish Church of St Michael and All Angels. It reads: “In memory of the Heatons of Ponden – Trustees of Haworth.”
While that proves very little, Andrew ventures further that the link between Ponden Hall, three miles west of Haworth, and Thrushcross Grange of Emily’s Wuthering Heights is feasible.
“In the 19th century, not many houses on the desolate moors surrounding Haworth could compare with Ponden. Like Thrushcross, the hall was attractive and well furnished and was inhabited by gentlemen of good standing, the educated Heaton brothers.”
When Emily was writing her book she often visited Ponden and he believes there is plenty of evidence to suggest that she and Robert were more than just friends.
“The plot of her novel concerns an inheritance and from what is known of the Heatons at the time, inheritance was what their 
life revolved around.
“The character of Heathcliff is based around a strange and sinister figure. At the time there was a man called Henry Casson who married into the Heaton family and tried to acquire her wealth.”
Copies of Andrew’s Never Had a Better can be obtained through visiting www.annbowes.co.uk
Old Age and the End of the World

Mrs. Tabitha Ratcliffe

This beautiful picture of Mrs. Tabitha Ratcliffe
Mrs. Ratcliffe was the sister of the Brontës' servant, Martha Brown. In the Brontës' time, she 'used often to spend the evening with her sister at the Parsonage . . . as well as in the Sunday school, where she was taught by both Charlotte and Anne Brontë'. In the early 1900s, she was interviewed by one C. Holmes Cautley who wished her to recall all she could of the Brontë family. In the interview, she told Cautley 'I used to think Miss Anne looked the nicest and most serious like'mick-armitage

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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