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Bronte in Bronte country

UNITED KINGDOM | Thursday, 25 August 2011 | Views [406]

Bronteland, the streets are cobblestoned and steep. There aren't as many shops as I expected called 'Bronte (insert shop type here)'. There are the typical cute boutiques and cafes with snatches of west Yorkshire scenery in between. To the left, at the top of the hill, is the church where Patrick Bronte, the father of the Bronte sisters, preached. I'd heard tales of what a cruel father Patrick had been but according to records he was deidicated to restoring the town. Particularly interested in new medical science, he was chairman for the Haworth council for sanitation. These facts completely reversed my position on him. It's nice to think that the church pews are where the Bronte family sat and prayed but actually most of the church was destroyed in the 19th century so for them it would've loked completely different.

I wonder if there's a special discounted entrance fee for visitors named Bronte but I was too chicken to ask. There are a surprising amount of rooms in the parsonage. On the bottom floor living area, there was a table situated in the middle with writing instruments strewn all over it. It's the room where Charlotte, Emily and Anne wrote their novels and also contains the couch on which Emily died. People I know have different methods of putting pen to paper, whether it's absolute solitude (moi), background music, a window view, coffee and cigarettes etc, but it seemed all three Brontes were able to work well in a shared space. I think it shows how close they were as sisters and why their writing style is similiar.

The parsonage was very informative. I'm amazed that The Bronte Society was able to track down so many personal belongings of the Brontes considering that they wrote under the pseudonym Bell and weren't trully appreciated until after their deaths. The upstairs rooms contained Branwell's painting, Charlotte's dress, first editions of their books and writing kits. I could've spent hours there.

Surrounding the parsonage were several great walking tracks. The first went round the back of the house and led up to a rocky hill that overlooked Yorkshire. The grass was tall and yellowy-green leading down towards the road and the fields smelt faintly of dung. A rabbit emerged from the side of the hill and ran out in front of me, too quick for a picture. Apart from the single string of houses directly in front and a cluster off to the side, the view was wonderfully empty.

Late in the afternoon when I was preparing to head back to York, I noticed a number of people walking through the graveyard in between the church and the Bronte house. I really don't understand why graveyards are tourist attractions - way too eerie for me. However I quickly wandered through and am so glad I did because half a kilometre later there was a sign that directed to Bronte Falls. A quick calculation told me that I could make it to and from the falls (altogether 5 miles) before it got dark (approx 2 hours) if I speedwalked, olympics style. The 360 views were incredible and made the rocky-hill-behind-the-house view look like a pathetic Penguin biscuit next to a Timtam. At this time I also figured out how to record views on my camera however at the Usain Bolt speed I was going, my videos were a tad shaky. The falls turned out to be more of a trickle but the journey made up for the destination. It's always the trips I don't plan on going that are incredible.

Tags: bronte, bronte falls, haworth, yorkshire


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