Here I am at the family tomb where Ellen Nussey lies at St Peter’s churchyard. I haven’t been for a long time and the front and rear graveyards have both run to long grass. As I approached the tomb there were two ducks waddling about. They’d have made a good photo but before I could get my camera out they flew back across the road to the pond. Oh well.
Charlotte was a nervous 14-year-old when she met Ellen at Roe Head School and the lifelong friendship started. Though Charlotte’s dad was living on a stipend Ellen’s dad was quite affluent but there was a meeting of similar minds. The remained friends until Charlotte’s death. She visited the Parsonage often and got to know Anne and Emily well. When Charlotte was 22 Ellen’s brother proposed but she politely declined.
She was such a firm friend Charlotte asked her to accompany her to Scarborough where she was taking her gravely-ill sister Anne (where she died.) She also asked Ellen to be a witnesses when she married Arthur Bell Nicholls (bit of a surprise as she thought Charlotte would be a spinster like her.)
Thankfully Ellen kept lots of letters from Charlotte and she used them to write her seminal biography The Life of Charlotte Brontë (1857). Arthur Bell Nicholls - Charlotte's husband - asked Ellen to destroy them after Charlotte’s death but thankfully she Ellen refused. She died aged 80 at her home in November 1897 having never married or had children.
I got chatting to a local lady with a dog who said a man called Nussey who lived in Australia had flown over especially to visit a few Bronte locations and call his ancestors tomb. There must be a few Nussey’s out there still. When I returned to my car there was a Chinese man asleep in his car with the window down. He’d hadn’t moved since I’d arrived 15 minutes earlier. There was a crawling across his face. As I pulled away I beeped my horn to wake him but he didn’t moved. I hope he’s not still there but then again it's not a bad place to drop off the perch.
The rear of the church...