Friday, September 23, 2011

Heathcliff! It's me!


After lunch in Saltaire - and also a visit to the most extraordinary David Hockney exhibition  of his new iPad art - we zoomed off to Howarth.
Howarth is home to the Bronte sister's Parsonage and great sprawling moors that characterise their work. It was the perfect Bronte day with sweeping winds and rain, then glimpses of sunshine. Their house is now a museum, where no photography was permitted - so here you have photos of the cemetery that surrounds it.
It was incredibly beautiful and terribly sad wandering around the graves. The village had terrible sanitation in the early 19thC (in fact the Revd. Patrick Bronte petitioned to have a health inspector visit and improve things). Most of the water that ran into the town came in through the earth of the graveyard.  Disease was rife.
There were long tomb stones filled up with the names of family members who had died in quick succession - the average life expectancy was only age 25! This grave was one of the many commemorating the life of a child. There is something terribly moving about such care and craftsmanship going into a work of art that commemorates such a tragedy. 

Can you imagine living in a house surrounded by this? It's no wonder many of their stories are filled with such sadness. The premature deaths of Anne and Emily are also testament to the terrible living conditions, particularly considering their house had a private well - so they were better off than most of the town folk.


This church was built in the late 19thC in place of the one the Bronte's would have attended. Their tomb is to the right of that stained glass window.

Howarth village is also so sweet! This shop has been preserved with its original fittings, but now sells bath salts and nik naks.
Apparently it once sold some harder stuff!
Even the sales assistant was dressed the part! (And very kind to put up with my photography request!)

Picturesque lane-ways and pubs (The Black Bull was Branwell's favourite watering hole)

 
Perfectly posed cats! And also a delightful vintage shop with a wonderful collection of hats - that I was so taken with, I forgot to snap any photos of the shop!

We then ate giant Yorkshire puddings at the pub and delicious caramel and custard for dessert. So sooo delicious.

To round up the day, we zipped over to Halifax to see the Northern Broadside's play by Blake Morrison, We are Three Sisters, based on the lives of the Brontes. It was really a perfectly Bronte day!

8 comments:

  1. In love with everyp icture of the cementery

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  2. I would've loved to be on that trip!! The scenery is so solemn but beautiful. Makes me want to crack open an Emily Bronte book right now:)

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  3. That graveyard looks pretty impressive, I'd like to go there too someday! :)

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  4. Oh my god, I'm so jealous you got to visit there! Definitely on my list of nerdy literature pilgrimages to one day take.

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  5. What an romantic trip! How very exciting to walk where the Bronte sisters once dwelt. I'm so happy that you got to experience this. I would love to travel there one day.

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  6. Ah. Love this post! I plan on doing these very things when I finally take my long desired trip to Yorkshire :)

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  7. wow. that is really horrible. I really really really couldn't stand Wuthering Heights (I tried!!!) and so perhaps something like this gives reason as to why!! they were sad people!

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Go on then!