On the outskirts of Bradford lies Thornton village where the famous Bronte kids were born. The terraced stone house is on Market Street - a narrow, quiet affair with cobbled streets leading off it. On the two visits I've made there seemed to be one shop open and most people I saw were heading to or from it.
Patrick and Maria Bronte moved here in 1815. Both were from big families - Patrick was one of ten children and Maria was one of eight. They married and moved to Thornton village with their children Maria and Elizabeth. The famous children - Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne - were born from 1816 to 1820. Whether they were born in bed or in front of one of the fireplaces is unknown. About a fifteen minute walk away lies the ruins of Old Bell Chapel and Patrick worked as a curate there. The Bronte's stayed for five years and in 1820 they moved to the parsonage in Haworth.
Over the years the house has been a butcher's shop and a restaurant. In the late 1990s it was bought and restored by crime novelist Barbara Whitehead who opened it as a museum. It was sold in 2007. The property has since been sold again and is now a Bronte-themed café called Emilys.
I tried filming a little footage but someone was having some windows ripped out there was some considerable noise. I had a stroll around the tiny village hoping the workmen would stop for a coffee break but they didn't. I had another look at the Bronte's house where the big family lived. Had they remained here would they have lived longer happier healthier lives. Instead of three famous novelists there might have been five. Who knows? Perhaps they were doomed when Patrick was offered the perpetual curacy of St Michael and All Angels Church in Haworth and they moved there. He outlived everyone. The death toll in Haworth was:-
Maria - wife (38) - uterine cancer
Maria daughter (11) having contracted typhoid at school which developed in tuberculosis
Elizabeth daughter (10) having contracted typhoid at school which developed in tuberculosis
Branwell son (31) - tuberculosis
Emily daughter (30) - tuberculosis
Anne daughter (29) - tuberculosis
Charlotte daughter (30) - unknown
Charlotte's unborn child (0)
Had the family remained in Thornton perhaps the Bronte story wouldn't have been so tragic. Oh well. Time for me to go. The workmen making all the noise were in flow and didn't look like stopping any time soon. I'll have to go back and take some footage. I did a salute and left.