First of all I have to admit getting my Bronte’s mixed up.
They were a nineteenth-century literary family, born in the village of Thornton and later associated with the village of Haworth. The sisters, Charlotte (1816–1855), Emily (1818–1848), and Anne (1820–1849), are well known as poets and novelists. Two other sisters died at a young age as did a brother Patric.
Like many contemporary female writers, they originally published their poems and novels under male pseudonyms: Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. Charlotte’s Jane Eyre was the first to know success, while Emily’s Wuthering Heights, Anne’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall were later to be accepted as masterpieces of literature.
The three sisters and their brother, Branwell were very close and during childhood developed their imaginations first through oral storytelling and play set in an intricate imaginary world and then through the writing of increasingly complex stories.
The deaths of first their mother and then of their two older sisters marked them profoundly and influenced their writing, as did the relative isolation in which they were raised.
The ‘Bronte Way’ is a 44mile cross-Pennine route linking various places associated with the lives and works of the Bronte sisters. Starting at Gawthorpe Hall, visited by Charlotte, it goes by the Thursden Valley to Wycoller Hall (Ferndean Manor in the novel Jane Eyre), Ponden Hall [Thrushcross Grange in Emily’s Wuthering Heights] the moors to Top Withins (Earnshaw House in Wuthering Heights), Haworth Parsonage, where the Brontes lived and now a Bronte Museum, the Brontes’ birthplace at Thornton, along the hills west of Bradford to the Spen Valley (Shirley country) before finishing at Oakwell Hall (Fieldhead in the Charlotte’s novel Shirley).
You will be familiar with Sir Hugh from my previous posts, I should really have a tag to my walking companions. Well he has recently had his second knee replaced or whatever. He managed to walk thousands of miles on his first knee replacement much to the credit, amazement and interest of his orthopedic surgeon. He is keen to field test the latest operation so we have arranged a few short days walking on The Bronte Way. He has connections to the Yorkshire end of the walk so was keen to explore the route.
Guide books of the way are out of print but the route is marked on the OS maps so we should be OK.