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Brontė family

Patrick Brontė or Brunty (1771-1861), perpetual curate of Haworth from 1820, was introduced to John Wesley's teaching through the Rev. Thomas Tighe. He was appointed examiner of Woodhouse Grove School and married the niece of the headmaster, Maria Branwell, who came from a Methodist family in Penzance. 'Aunt Branwell' cared for the Brontė children after their mother's death in 1821. The influence of William Grimshaw was still prevalent in Haworth and there were many similarities between the two men, including puritanical discipline, evangelical fervour and family misfortunes. Years before Patrick had found comfort and help in the home of John Fletcher. G.Elsie Harrison traced the tragic trend in Wuthering Heights to the spiritual stories of conversion, of dramatic changes from darkness to light and of startling conflicts in the soul which Emily Brontė found in old Methodist Magazines belonging to her aunt. Anne and Charlotte went through phases of Calvinistic depression, but their treatment of Christian topics suggests that they tended towards Arminianism. Anne's poems found a place in successive Methodist hymn-books, notably, 'Believe not those who say/The upward path is smooth' (HP 708).

Sources

  • G. Elsie Harrison, Haworth Parsonage (1937)
  • G. Elsie Harrison, The Clue to the Brontės (1948)
  • Emma Mason, '"Some God of wild enthusiast's dreams": Emily Brontė's religious enthusiasm', in Victorian Literature and Culture, vol. 31:1 (2003) pp. 263-77

Entry written by: EWD
Category: Person

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