My visit to the Bronte Parsonage (aka my husband was right…)

I was overcome with a sense of awe as I stepped into the Bronte Parsonage for the very first time. My husband had sensibly ambled off the nearest coffee shop in search of scones as he thought I’d be hours. ‘It’s not that big, I won’t be long,’ I’d replied. But he was right. I was hours.

There was such a sense of history seeped into the rooms of this house that still feels very much a home with its rich and warm atmosphere. Here lived the writers whose books I had grown up reading, who moved me with their words, who made me fall in love with their characters, whose stories I felt a sense of loss from when I’d finished. The Bronte family came to live at Haworth Parsonage in 1820 when Patrick Bronte was appointed Perpetual Curate of Haworth Church. Tragically Mrs Bronte and the two elder children, Maria and Elizabeth, died within five years.

First off is Mr Bronte’s study. The children had their lessons here and the cabinet piano was played by Emily and Anne. Much of the furniture and possessions in the parsonage did belong to the Brontes and it has been decorated as closely to the original as it can be. In each room are costumes from the BBC ‘To Walk Invisible’ biopic, which, if you haven’t seen I’d highly recommend.

 

In the dining room is the table Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights were written at. Visitors aren’t allowed to touch it (oh how I longed to) but it was stained with ink blots and there’s a small letter ‘e’ carved into its surface. I could almost picture the siblings gathered around the table bouncing around plot ideas.

Mr Nicholas Study – Charlotte converted this room into a study for her husband-to-be in 1854.

 

Kitchen – I believe this is the only room that was structurally altered after the Brontes no longer lived here.

Each evening at 9 Mr Bronte would lock the front door and on his way to bed he’d wind up this Grandfather Clock

Children’s Room – this was a study for the children while they were young and it was here the siblings wrote their early stories and poems.

Father’s Room – It was in this room that Branwell died in 1848.

Branwell’s Room – full of chaos and pieces of writing.

Upstairs, there is an exhibition with displays of manuscripts, first editions and lots of information boards to read. Including letters from Charlotte, firstly submitting her manuscript after 6 rejections “I beg to submit to your consideration the accompanying Manuscript” and later, to her publisher “hoping the public may think pretty well” of Jane Eyre and, later writing “we did not like to declare ourselves women, because we had a vague impression that authoresses were liable to be looked on with prejudice”.

I had such a lovely time and learned such a lot I was loath to leave but on my way out I spotted the children’s craft table and although I didn’t have my kids with me the staff kindly let me join them and I spent a happy half hour making these spoon people who now sit on the shelf above my desk watching (judging) me as I write more books of my own.

I also got the chance to do something really cool while I was at the parsonage, yes even cooler than spoon people, but I’ll share that in another blog very soon.

 

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17 thoughts on “My visit to the Bronte Parsonage (aka my husband was right…)

  1. Oh, I’ve never been there, but I’d love to. Such an inspiring place to be, where all thsoe books were created. Like you, I pored over the Bronte books as a teen and into my twenties, Jane Eyre being my favourite. That looked down upon heroine, that moody hero, the mad woman in the attic – irresistible. Glad you enjoyed your trip – any Bronte-esque tales in the pipeline, then? 🙂

  2. Thanks for the tour; despite many trips to the great north and loving Yorkshire, I haven’t yet been to Haworth and thanks to your tip I shall go prepared; send Cyberspouse off with his camera and some pocket money for the cafe. I loved ‘To Walk Invisible’ . Would any of us have liked to live there then?

  3. I was & lived in West Yorkshire until I was 18 and so have been to Howarth several times. One of the gift shops is housed in what used to be the old post office where the Bronte sisters posted off their manuscripts to London. The shop still has the original post office counter & it’s supposed to be lucky to touch it.

  4. Thank you for the enjoyable tour. I was there years ago but in those (schoolboy) days I had little interest. One never appreciates opportunity when it stares you in the face.

Constructive criticism appreciated

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