Our fearless leader, Bronte Society Chairman Richard Wilcocks at the Bronte Parsonage Blog interviews Parsonage Librarian Ann Dinsdale about her newly published book, The Brontes at Haworth.
For research I didn’t have to stir beyond the library here, which of course contains the best collection of Brontë material in the world. I had access to parish records, contemporary accounts, newspapers, everything. After seventeen years I am quite familiar with what there is.
Some new or little-known items might stick in the reader’s mind, for example some of the contemporary views of the Brontë novels. One reviewer said that Wuthering Heights would ‘live a short and brilliant life and then die and be quickly forgotten’.
Then there’s the transcript of the account book of the local joiner William Wood, a good name for a joiner I think. He made coffins. His spelling gives an idea of how he spoke.
When ‘Miss Branwell’ died in 1842, her ‘coffen’ cost £5.12s.6d. When Branwell died in 1848 the ‘coffen & scroud making’ totalled only £3.15s. Then there is this:
Emlea Jane Bronty. Died Dec 19th 1848 in the 30 year of hir Age. Coffen 5ft 7” long 16” broad.
If you would like to purchase the book, it is available for order from the Bronte Parsonage online store.