7 Buildings to Mark the Brontë Bicentenary

From the buildings that inspired her first novel Jane Eyre, to the house where she contracted a fatal illness, Historic England has relisted 7 buildings which witnessed the life of English novelist Charlotte Brontë, born 200 years ago today.

These buildings were already on The List but now their entries have been updated to reflect their associations with Charlotte. Today we’re celebrating and marking the history of this important novelist

Haworth Parsonage, Haworth, West Yorkshire, listed Grade I

Haworth Parsonage, Haworth, West Yorkshire, listed Grade I. Home to Patrick Brontë and his three literary daughters Charlotte, Emily and Anne from 1820 onwards. The sisters’ most famous novels were written here, including Charlotte’s Jane Eyre, Emily’s Wuthering Heights and Anne’s Agnes Grey, all in 1847. Charlotte died in the Parsonage on 31 March 1855. (c) Historic England
Haworth Parsonage, Haworth (c) Historic England

The Grade I listed Haworth Parsonage was home to Patrick Brontë and his three literary daughters Charlotte, Emily and Anne from 1820 onwards. It was in this house that, as children and young adults, the Brontë sisters, with their brother Branwell wrote stories and poetry.

The sisters’ most famous novels were written here, including Charlotte’s Jane Eyre, Emily’s Wuthering Heights and Anne’s Agnes Grey, all in 1847. Charlotte died in the Parsonage on 31 March 1855

North Lees Hall, Derbyshire, listed Grade II*

North Lees Hall, Derbyshire, listed Grade II*. In 1845 Charlotte visited the ancestral home of the Eyre family, who inspired the name of Charlotte’s first heroine. Here she learned of a mad woman who had once been kept in an upstairs room, giving her the inspiration for Mr Rochester’s Thornfield Hall in her first and most famous novel Jane Eyre. (c) Dave Bevis via Wikimedia Commons
North Lees Hall, Derbyshire (c) Dave Bevis via Wikimedia Commons

In 1845 Charlotte visited the ancestral home of the Eyre family, who inspired the name of Charlotte’s first heroine. Here she learned of a mad woman who had once been kept in an upstairs room, giving her the inspiration for Mr Rochester’s Thornfield Hall in her first and most famous novel Jane Eyre.

The Vicarage, Hathersage, Derbyshire, listed Grade II

The Vicarage, Hathersage, listed at Grade II. Charlotte stayed here throughout the summer of 1845 visiting a school friend. During her stay she met the Eyre family and visited their ancestral home, North Lees Hall (c) Neil Theasby via Geograph
The Vicarage, Hathersage (c) Neil Theasby via Geograph

During this visit to Derbyshire in the summer of 1845 she stayed with an old school friend at the Grade II listed Vicarage in the village of Hathersage which was immortalised in her novel as Morton.

Stone Gappe, Lothersdale, North Yorkshire, listed Grade II*

Stone Gappe
Stone Gappe, Lothersdale from In The Footsteps of the Brontës by Mark Davis and Ann Dinsdale

Stone Gappe is thought to be the inspiration for Gateshead Hall, the unhappy childhood home of Jane Eyre. Charlotte moved to Stone Gappe in 1839 to be the governess to the Sidgwick family’s children. But she hated the position and after just a few weeks returned home to Haworth.

Gawthorpe Hall, Ightenhill, Lancashire, listed Grade I

Gawthorpe Hall, Ightenhill, Lancashire, listed Grade I. It is thought that Charlotte caught a chill whilst walking in the grounds of here which led to her death in 1855. (c) John6536 via Flickr
Gawthorpe Hall, Ightenhill, (c) John6536 via Flickr

Built in the early 17th Century, this Grade I listed country house was owned by Sir James Kay-Shuttleworth in the 1850s. He befriended Charlotte and introduced her to Elizabeth Gaskell, her fellow novelist and future biographer. It is thought that Charlotte caught a chill whilst walking in the grounds of Gawthorpe which led to her death in 1855.

Archive image of Gawthorpe Hall (c) Historic England Archive
Archive image of Gawthorpe Hall (c) Historic England Archive

Numbers 72 and 74 Market Street, Thornton, listed Grade II*

Numbers 72 and 74 Market Street, Bradford. (c) Paul Glazzard via Geograph

This was the birthplace of Maria and Patrick Brontë’s four youngest children, Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne. It was home to the Brontë family from 1815 when Patrick was curate at the church of St James in Thornton, until 1820 when the family moved to Haworth.

Ruins of the Chapel of St James, Old Bell Chapel, Thornton, listed Grade II

Ruins of Chapel of St James, Old Bell Chapel, Bradford, listed Grade II. The Rev Patrick Brontë was curate of the chapel from 1815 to 1820 when the family moved to Haworth. (c) Tim Green via Flickr
Ruins of Chapel of St James, Old Bell Chapel, Bradford (c) Tim Green via Flickr

The ruined chapel of St James, also known as the Old Bell Chapel, is traditionally dated to 1612 because it includes a stone inscribed with this date but it also includes stones dated to 1587 and 1756.

The Rev Patrick Brontë was curate of the chapel from 1815 to 1820 when the family moved to Haworth. Brontë oversaw the partial rebuilding of the chapel in 1818, including the addition of the bell turret. And it was here that his three literary daughters were baptised.

Next Steps

Read about Haworth: Village of the Brontës

Find out more about listing

 

8 responses to 7 Buildings to Mark the Brontë Bicentenary

  1. artandarchitecturemainly says:

    I have never heard of re-listing Heritage Buildings, to better reflect their importance for the Bronte family. Great idea!

    I knew of many of the important homes you have photographed but I had never heard of the Market St Bradford home. While this home would have been important to Maria and Patrick Brontë, the four children who were born there probably remembered nothing whatsoever of the years 1815-1820. Nonetheless, I would love to have a good look around in there.

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    • franzitzka says:

      The two buildings in Bradford- the Bronte birthplace and the Bell Chapel are actually in Thornton, a village some seven miles west of the city. I lived in Thornton as a child and it has a very seperate identity of its own. In the Bronte’s day it would have been very remote.

      The birthplace is now a lovely little restaurant and open to the public, as is the Bell Chapel, and both are well worth a visit. I went back to Thornton last year and visited the Bronte exhibition in St James’s church- I believe it’s still open at weekends.

      I think the heading ‘Market Street, Bradford’ is a little misleading here, without the inclusion of Thornton.

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  2. Giles Proctor says:

    It should be pointed out that the birthplace and the ruined church are in Thornton, a distinct village to the west of Bradford.

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  3. Chloe says:

    I love the cultural heritage that exist in some of our oldest buildings today in the UK. Conservation is a must since cultural heritage provides us all with a sense of belonging and pride, being hugely important in our society and national identity.

    Like

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