Thornton and the Bronte Birthplace

Posted by on September 1, 2012

“My happiest days were spent there”; so said Rev. Patrick Bronte of the five years he spent at Thornton. The Bronte family, then consisting of Patrick, his wife Maria Branwell, whom he had married in 1812, and his two oldest children Maria and Elizabeth, moved to Thornton from the parish of Hartshead-cum-Clifton in !815. Here were born the three daughters who were to become famous novelists – Charlotte, Emily and Anne – and his only son, Branwell. They had a pleasant social life in Thornton often exchanging visits with Dr. John Scholefield Firth of Kipping House, and his only daughter, Elizabeth, then eighteen. Elizabeth Firth quickly became friends with Maria and her sister Elizabeth Branwell, when she came to stay, and became daughter Elizabeth’s and Anne’s godparent. She had a wide circle of friends who she introduced them to, and it is this congenial company that Patrick particularly missed in Haworth after his wife died.

The importance of the Brontes’ time in Thornton is often overlooked. Although all the children were under five when they left, I believe it formed a kind of lost childhood Eden in their minds. This is where the family was complete: father, mother and children, and where they had kind friends. In Haworth, Patrick said he felt like “a stranger in a strange land”…

Discover Thornton and the Bronte Birthplace with me on these Bronte walks:

The Bronte Birthplace

The Bronte Way to Moscow

The Great Northern Trail Thornton To Queensbury

Thornton Village

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