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 mei 2014

Haworth museum asks: Do you have a Bronte artefact?

People are being urged to rummage through their attics for lost Bronte treasures. Curators at the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth believe pieces of manuscripts, letters and belongings might be hidden in residents’ houses. They want people to search their homes as a way of celebrating Charlotte Bronte’s 198th birthday. Ann Dinsdale, the museum’s collections manager, said there were many letters and manuscripts waiting to be discovered. She said that although there were unlikely to be any undiscovered novels, there could still be unknown books written by the Bronte siblings as children. Anyone with items should contact the museum by calling (01535) 642323 or e-mailing ann.dinsdale@bronte.org.uk.

donderdag 1 mei 2014

Drawing of Broughton Church

On this day in 1840, Branwell visited Hartley Coleridge, son of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, at his home near Rydal Water. This drawing of Broughton Church was sketched from life a couple of months earlier, during Branwell's time as a tutor in Broughton-in-Furness.

The Red House

The house of Mary and Martha Taylor, friends of Charlotte Bronte


Red House Dining Room with the stained glass windows described by Charlotte Bronte in her novel Shirley.
Red House 1830s Kitchen - that's a sugar loaf on the table!

woensdag 30 april 2014

Drawing from Branwell

On this day in 1830, the twelve-year-old Branwell completed the 'Hermit'. Despite his pencilled claim that the image is "Original", it is believed to be at least a partial copy from a print.

dinsdag 29 april 2014

the Haworth 1940s Weekend

Some inspiration for you ready for the Haworth 1940s Weekend ladies...

Conservation on copies of Blackwoods magazine

We have the lovely Oonagh with us today, helping with our ongoing conservation on our copies of Blackwoods magazine, which was a great favourite of all of the Brontë family.

zondag 27 april 2014

Sir James Roberts Bart: the Haworth weaver's lad who bought the Parsonage (and Saltaire)

 As part of our programme to celebrate our 120th year, join Brontë expert Stephen Whitehead as he discusses local man Sir James Roberts. The mill owner and philanthropist who bought the Haworth Parsonage for The Brontë Society which ensured it was saved for the nation.

Tickets £5.
To book tickets contact louisa.briggs@bronte.org.uk / 01535 640188, book online at  http://www.bronte.org.uk/whats-on or tickets will be available on the door. 
Sir James Roberts (1848-1935), was a legend in my family. In quest of him I, two years short of seventy, went to Saltaire. Then pieced together his story from what documents I have, my parents' dual autobiography, Professor Anthony Cross's inaugural lecture as professor of the Roberts Chair of Russian at Leeds University, correspondence in The Times Literary Supplement, and Charles Lemon's accounts of the purchase by Sir James Roberts of the Brontë's Haworth Parsonage to bequeath to the nation, as well as information from the exhibition in Salts Mills and books published about Sir Titus Salt whom he succeeded as owner of Saltaire.
My great-grandfather came from a large and poor farming family near Haworth and went to work at Saltaire, built by Titus Salt in 1850 as a model mill town, at twelve years of age, then the legal minimum age for such employment, walking barefoot across the Moors to do so. We recall Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poem 'The Cry of the Children' which influenced legislation in the House of Lords and was translated into Russian by Dostoeivsky's brother, Mikhail. James Roberts met Charlotte Brontë in Haworth but did not attend her father's church as his family were Dissenters. I like to think that Charlotte Brontë's Shirley (1848) reflects her knowledge of such innovative Yorkshire millowners as Titus Salt.
At eighteen James Roberts was made manager of Saltaire. Lacking formal schooling he had taught himself fluent Russian, journeying each year to trade cloth for angora wool, Saltaire using both angora and alpaca wool in its fine cloth. I like to think that Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol's The Overcoat (1842), with its St Petersburg setting, owes something to this Yorkshire wool and cloth trade. James Roberts also travelled to Australia and to South America to buy wool, to Russia and North America to sell cloth. From: Sir James Roberts


This month in the Garden

April is proving to be a lovely month in the Parsonage garden: the grass grows green and fair, the spring bulbs are at the height of their season, snowdrops have been overtaken by daffodils, tulips are just starting to open ‒ so many plants, too numerous to mention, are flowering or just popping up from the ground to remind us that they too will soon be adding their own contribution to the garden. 
There is always lots of work to do.  Right now, spring cleaning the beds, removing dead growth from last year and seeing off the weeds ‒not least the celandines which are very pretty but far too invasive to ignore.  Alchemilla Mollis is another one to watch; give it an inch and it takes a mile.  Geoff takes great pride in the lawns and it has to be said that they are very much improved under his expert care.  For myself, I have never had a passion for grass ‒ nice to look at but hey!  I like to think that, like Jack Sprat and his wife, Geoff and I complement one another in the garden; his strengths are my weaknesses and team work is what it’s all about. 
The new bed at the back of the heather garden is coming along nicely, but again there is a constant battle with herb Robert and the dreaded Alchemilla Mollis. Bluebells are waiting in the wings and will be gracing us with their beautiful fragrance next month, but before that I must not forget to thank the primroses and cowslips which have seeded and are doing really well, so perfect in this garden. 
I must say thank you to Chris Taylor for taking these lovely pictures for us, and I hope that you have enjoyed April in the Parsonage garden.  

From: Bronte Parsonage April eNewslette​r

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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