The Bronte Parsonage Museum
Haworth is a place of literary pilgrimage with huge numbers of visitors flocking to this picturesque West Yorkshire town due to worldwide interest in the Bronte sisters – Charlotte, Anne and Emily. Patrick Bronte and his family came to Haworth and moved into the Parsonage in 1820. This remained their main home base for the rest of their lives, and today’s museum offers a fascinating insight into one of the country’s most celebrated literary families. Haworth Parsonage was built in 1799 and was the home of the Bronte Family from 1820. The Bronte Parsonage Museum at the end of Haworth’s cobbled Main Street is where to start your Bronte pilgrimage. Interior rooms and furnishings are as they would have been when occupied by Anne, Emily and Charlotte Bronte.
Highlights include viewing the prized miniature books written by the Bronte children encapsulating their imagined world of Gondal. Most of these surviving examples were written by Charlotte Bronte. Elizabeth Gaskell’s sketch of the Parsonage and the church of 1832, which depicts it as bleaker without the enclosed churchyard and trees which became a feature later is just one of the gems on show in the museum. A Bronte book and gift shop is onsite, packed with the Bronte Sisters’ complete works and a range of Bronte themed gifts and memorabilia.
The Bronte Sisters in Haworth
Just one year after The Bronte Sisters arrived in Haworth their mother died. As children in a parsonage family they kept very much to themselves, serving their apprenticeships in producing imaginative epics and poetry in miniature booklets. In 1825 the eldest sister of Charlotte, Emily and Anne, Maria Bronte, died. Death was common-place in the lives of the young Brontes who often saw the coffins for burial in the churchyard of Haworth Parsonage
What Charlotte, Anne and Emily Bronte felt about the political and religious non-conformity in Haworth and the West Riding surrounds creeps into the Bronte novels (one of the most obvious examples Gaskell gives is the character of Joseph in Wuthering Heights). Patrick Bronte kept a loaded pistol under his bed every night after the Luddite risings.