The Reverend Patrick and Maria Brontë
Maria BrontėMaria Brontë (nee Branwell) 
(1785 - 1821)

This is one of the only two known portraits of Anne's mother. She was born, and spent her early life, in Penzance, Cornwall; but met Patrick in Hartshead, Yorkshire, while she was in the area helping her aunt with the domestic side of running a school. Maria was 29 when she married Patrick; the wedding taking place on 29 December 1812 at Guiseley's parish church. Between the years 1814 and 1820 she gave birth to their six children, the last one being Anne; and died, of cancer (believed to be of the uterus), on 15 September 1821 aged 38. Anne was only 20 months old at this time.

The Reverend Patrick Brontë  (1777 - 1861)

The Reverend Patrick Brontė (photograph)

Anne's father was born on 17 March 1777 in Drumballyroney, County Down, Ireland. His original family name was Brunty, but Patrick changed this to Bronte when he travelled to England and enrolled at St. Johns college, Cambridge, at the age of 25. It may have been on account of one of his heroes, Lord Nelson, who, the year before, had assumed the title - the Duke of Bronte. This photograph of him was taken during the last few years of his life. Patrick had a phobia about ill health and for many years wore an enormous white silk cravat wrapped around his throat to protect him from bronchial complaints. Ellen Nussey regarded him as something of a hypochondriac. In the event, he outlived his entire family by many years, dying at the ripe old age of 84 in 1861. He had served the religious needs of the Haworth community for 41 years.

Copyright © 1999 Michael Armitage

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