The Brontë Sisters Story
Patrick, father of Charlotte, Emily, Anne and their brother Branwell was a driven and ambitious man. Born in County Down in 1777, he quickly left his humble origins behind by becoming an undergraduate at St John's College, Cambridge. He also left behind his humble surname of Brunty, changing it to the more impressive sounding 'Brontë'.
He married in 1812 and moved to Thornton in 1815 with his two children Maria and Elizabeth. It was here that Charlotte, Emily, Anne and Branwell were all born. From 1820 to 1861 the Brontë family lived in the village of Haworth in the Parsonage.
Little did he know that he and Maria has brought into this world three girls whose prodigious talent would ensure that the Brontë name is known worldwide. Charlotte's novel Jane Eyre, Emily's Wuthering Heights and Anne's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, together with their other writings, are outstanding contributions to English literature, enjoyed as much today as they were when first written.
However life was harsh in the 19th century and tragedy struck and Patrick lost all of his six children at a young age; Emily died at just 30 years old, Branwell at 31 and Anne at 29, all of tuberculosis. Charlotte died just short of her 39th birthday. Two older sisters had died as children. Patrick's wife Maria also died in her thirties.
The Parsonage is now the Brontë Parsonage Museum, preserved as it would have been in the Brontë's time, full of their personal possessions and a fascinating exhibition on their lives.
Slightly further afield in Gomersal,you can visit visit the elegant Georgian Red House, which was home to the Taylor family, great friends of Charlotte Brontë. Charlotte visited frequently and described the house and its occupants in her novel ‘Shirley’.