Here’s a little taste of what’s to come… Haworth parsonage, where the Brontës lived.
But first: Chester!
Pretty, isn’t it? These are Victorian reproductions of what used to be here: a raised row of shops high above the dust and muck of the streets. We had an hour and a half here to wander around; some of us went to the church but I chose to mosey on along all of the rows, but having a look-see.
They weren’t kidding. I’m only 5’2″.
I ducked into a couple of op shops and found a little bell in each of them to add to my small collection. One was Bohemia crystal?/glass?; the other was Wedgewood. The price was right on both – just 3GBP.
The original city wall. We walked around a fair bit of it and we saw the Roman amphitheatre as well.
In the Roman gardens (which weren’t much chop, to be honest) there’s this section of the wall. See how it’s been repaired? The Royalist troops were holed up in Chester during the civil war of 1642-1651 and the Parliamentarians blasted their way in at this point.
It’s such a pretty place. If you look on the left you can see a man sitting down with a straw hat on. That’s Barry, one of the guys on the tour, with his wife Bet standing up. They’re talking with a 93-year-old guy whose father was born in Australia. He was one of the few who migrated the other way. 🙂
Then we jumped in the bus and made our way north to Yorkshire. We had lunch in a pub 3 miles from Haworth. I was jumping out of my skin with anticipation.
Emily’s moors, taken from the hamlet where we had lunch. There’s no doubt she would’ve walked along here.
When we finally got here I was a bit excited.
They don’t want you to take photos, but honestly? It’s not like it’s a church where it’s a matter of respect and sacred stuff etc, so I took heaps of sneaky peeks for you.
I was really fortunate to have some quiet bits in the house with just me in the rooms, so it was easy to imagine them all here… and then after Branwell, Emily and Anne died there would’ve been poor Charlotte all alone after dinner, while her father was in his study across the hall.
Here’s where Emily died. I had to rush to take this photo because I was certain the guide in the hallway was onto me. I heard her talking to a new arrival so I moved fast. That’s why Branwell’s head is cut off a bit.
This is across the hall from the dining room, right by the front door. It’s a very good-sized room.
There’s his magnifying glass on the desk in the corner. Upstairs they also had the holster where he kept the gun that he used to keep by his bed at night, then fire out of his window each morning.
On the landing is the grandfather clock. Mr Brontë used to go to bed at 9 each night, popping his head in the dining room door to remind his children not to go to bed too late. (I do this too, don’t I boys? 🙂 ) Then he’d go to the clock, wind it up and go to bed. I’d read about this so it was awesome to see the actual clock. I was talking with one of the guides and he said that it isn’t wound up by a key. It has a chain that you pull and that keeps the clock going for another 24 hours.
I stayed in this room for a long time. They would’ve spent a lot of time here, particularly Emily.
In the girls’ room they had a lot of exhibits, too many to post here. Here’s one of Charlotte’s dresses; her wedding bonnet and veil, (someone who was at the wedding said she looked like “a little snowdrop”); her parasol, overshoes and some stockings and gloves belonging to one of the girls. The stockings were tied on at the top… no elastic back then I suppose.
Here’s the little room that Emily lived in in the last few years of her life.
When they say ‘little books’ they’re not being fanciful. You genuinely needed the magnifying glass in front of it to read it. It was incredible detailed… amazing workmanship for kids to do.
I was very excited when I read about this next thing:
How amazing. I nearly bought a copy of Jane Eyre from here just for this alone, but it’s a bit of a door-stopper. My luggage is getting heavy. Scott; we’re going to have to make a trip to the post office to send some souvenirs home. I’ve run a little mad after you left London…
The church has since been demolished and rebuilt but the tower is still the same one. You can’t visit their graves as they’re underneath the floor in the family crypt. (Except for Anne. Apparently she’s buried in Scarborough.) Apparently there’s a small chapel with mementoes of them, but I elected to spend nearly all of my time in the house, with just a 5 minute gallop around Haworth before I had to be back at the bus.
This was a little house right beside the parsonage.
The main drag of Haworth.
Here was the pub where Branwell spent so much of his time when visitors came to town. It’s literally right beside the church, just two doors down from the parsonage. What hope did they have in trying to keep him out? Turn your back on him for 2 seconds and he’d be gone.
I had literally NO time to waste, so I rounded the corner and asked a guy who was leaning in the doorway of a pub, “Hi. Which is Branwell Brontë’s pub?”
He pointed, then said, “If they offer to sell you Branwell’s chair, don’t buy it. They’ve sold about 80 already!!”
Branwell was such a disaster… I really felt for them all when I was in the father’s bedroom, where in the last year of Branwell’s life he had him sleep in there with him to keep an eye on him because he was a danger to himself and the family. How heartbreaking and tragic. The guide in the hallway near the dining room said to me that they now believe that he was possibly bi-polar. In those days, with no understanding of mental illness and certainly no medication and counseling, it’s no wonder he ended up the way he did.
After I’d sped down to the village and had a 5-minute look, I spotted this on the side of a building next to the parsonage on my way back to the bus. Stuff is everywhere in this country.
After that, we headed off to York, where I’ll be spending the next two nights. There’s a law here that coach drivers have to have every 6th day off without driving, so tomorrow is Russell’s day. Here is our route into town, through the old city walls.
We met in the bar at the hotel and 4 of us decided to go into town for some liquid refreshment.
There was a guy playing piano. He was ok when he was playing Star Wars, but he got worse as the beer got lower in his glass. We had to leave when his beer was only a third full. I’ve never heard ‘The Entertainer’ by Scott Joplin mangled so badly. I’m sure my ears were bleeding by the time we left.
I’m looking forward to my full day in York tomorrow. From the street and a half we saw, plus the view of York Minster, I think it’s going to be a good day.