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Charlotte Bronte made the headlines again last week, with news of a recently rediscovered piece of homework she wrote while at school in Brussels, and so I thought you might like to see some photographs I took last summer when I visited the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Howarth in Yorkshire.
I though you also might like the chance to compare and contrast the homes of these two writers, as we concentrated so much on Steventon Rectory last week. Haworth Parsonage was built circa 1778-9. It was the home of the Bronte family from 1820, when Mr Bronte was appointed to be Perpetual Curate of the parish.
The gabled addition, which you can see to the right of this picture, above, was added in 1878 by the Reverend John Wade who succeeded Patrick Bronte.
The original plan of the house ,as it would have been when the Bronte family lived there, was of a typical double fronted Georgian house: two rooms separated by an entrance passage which leads to a staircase hall at the rear of the ground floor. There was also a kitchen and a small storage room behind these rooms at the back of the house. This is Elizabeth Gaskell’s drawing of how it looked when the Brontes lived there:
This is Mr Bronte’s study, below,
which was to the right of the entrance and the dining room-where the Bronte sister did most of their writing and revising, walking round and round the table in the centre as they discussed their plots, below, was to the left.
The kitchen and small fuel room,which later became Charlotte’s husbands study,were to the back of the house. The comfortable interiors are often something of a surprise to visitors: two of my companions expected to see some windswept farmhouse with little in the way of creature comforts;) The position of the parsonage, directly next to the graveyard and on the shadows of many, now mature trees, is very different from the scene in Mrs Gaskell’s drawing, above.
It is very atmospheric however…
and a stone set into the wall of the garden marks the spot where a gate once stood
and where they all, apart from Anne who died in Scarborough, were carried to their graves.
Haworth village runs down the hill -the rather steep hill- from the Parsonage
Apart from the cars it is easy to imagine how it was when the Brontes were living there…with the apothecaries shop in the centre of the village
The view down the steep main street is rather beautiful with the hills rising beyond it
But I admit to begin too scared of slipping to take the route, up or down…
I remained, as it is reported that Bramwell Bronte often did, in the confines of the Black Bull public house taking refreshment.
Charlotte Bronte’s comments about Jane Austen have always troubled me. I’ve loved both authors since my early teenage years, and if often seems as if Charlotte thought they came from two different planets,so different did she consider was their approach to their work. But, like many of the homes of authors I love, it is possible to see parallels,perhaps you don’t agree?
Here finally is a very short video of the garden parsonage and church.