Friday, June 7, 2013

'And what thou art may never be destroyed' -- Haworth and the Brontë Parsonage

Today, I made a pilgrimage.
The town of Haworth, where Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë grew up and lived, and where the the Brontë Parsonage Museum is now located, is only about a 15 to 20 minute car ride from where I'm living this month. It would have been sacrilege not to go.

So, today, I did.

Haworth is a charming place, surrounded by the fields and hills of Yorkshire.

The house where Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell lived is now a museum. Also, Patrick Brontë, their father, died today in 1861. The Parsonage has just undergone refurbishment, and is charming. Lots of thought and detail has been invested to try to recreate a house as it would have been when the Brontës lived there. There is also a fabulous exhibit called Genius: The Brontë Story. Sadly, but understandably, pictures inside the museum were not allowed.

St. Michael and All Angels Church, where their father was minister, and under which is the family vault, is just nearby. (Note: the church has been rebuilt since the Brontë family's time).

My timing was just off: I found out that tomorrow there is a meeting of the Brontë Society at the church! This is not a common thing, and has brought people from abroad!

The only member of the famous Brontës ber not buried in the vault is Anne, who died in Scarborough, and  is buried there. 

There is footpath from the cemetery that leads out into the fields (moors?) beyond the town. I walked around them for a bit, but as the tourist sites such as the Brontë Falls were at least a good two miles off, and I was not in walking gear (plus I was all alone!), I didn't go out very far. When the rest of the fam joins in July, though, I hope we can come back to Haworth, from whence I plan to commence a Great Brontë Hiking Expedition.

"Literary Landscape"
I thought these were just tumbling old pieces of stone or something, until I saw the plaque naming the work of art!

There are signs marking "Public Footpaths" everywhere. They'll cut through fields, providing a way for people to get around town.

Just in front of the church, and down a steep, cobblestone hill, is Main Street, which is full of eclectic shops, tea rooms, and B&Bs. Everyone is genuinely friendly.

I spent at least five hours meandering about, and although I felt like I got to see the sights well enough, I could still spend more time there, especially with friends.

"No coward soul is mine"
-Emily Brontë