Saturday, 13 July 2013

A visit to Bronte Country...

Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favourite books, and Wuthering Heights ranks quite high as well - it was one of the first classics that I read in my early teens. Ever since then, I've wanted to visit the village of Howarth, where the family lived, in what's now known as Bronte Country. A few days ago, I went there.


The journey was incredible, taking us miles into the heart of the wild Yorkshire moors. It was so easy to imagine Jane Eyre wandering, or Cathy and Heathcliff sitting together. We even drove past a pub called Wuthering Heights!

When we finally made it to Howarth, the first stop was the Parsonage Museum. We weren't allowed to take any photographs inside, but it was incredible to explore the Bronte's old home; see their belongings, clothes and shoes (which were TINY!) up close; and learn more about their lives. My favourite room in the entire Parsonage was the dining room, where Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre were written. Anne Bronte's portable writing desk was on the table, along with all the original contents, and I was craning my neck to see every single detail!

After working through the Museum, we headed to the Church of St Michael and All Angels, where the family patriarch Patrick Bronte served as Revered to the village. It was beautiful inside, with a special Bronte chapel, and memorial stones above the Bronte family vault.

Our next stop was Howarth itself, turning onto the main street, which was lined with shops and tea rooms named after the Brontes, their characters and books. All the roads are the original cobbled ones from the 19th century, and it was amazing to walk the same streets as some of my favourite authors. After a quick lunch at Villette Coffee Shop, we explored the little shops, and tried not to trip on the road! It is SO STEEP. None of the photos I took really showed the angle very well, but how horses used to be able to climb up the street, especially pulling carriages, is incredible.

Finally, we went into the Parsons Field, which backs out onto the moors which inspired so much of the writing. It's such a desolate and beautiful place - I can easily see how they were inspired by the landscape. It was a brilliant end to a brilliant day. Needless to say, my inner bookworm was VERY HAPPY!

PLEASE NOTE: ALL THESE PHOTOGRAPHS BELONG TO ME, E. C. HIBBS. THEY ARE NOT IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN AND ARE NOT TO BE REDISTRIBUTED OR ALTERED IN ANY WAY.

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