Haworth (West Yorkshire): Haworth Parsonage, Haworth Moors, and Top WithinsThe Bront√ęs
Haworth (West Yorkshire): Haworth Parsonage, Haworth Moors, and Top Withins, Haworth
Tim Green from Bradford, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

About

The village of Haworth is home to the celebrated Brontë sisters. Although the Brontë sisters were born in Thornton, they wrote most of their novels at Haworth Parsonage where they lived while their father was parson of Haworth’s parish Church of St. Michael and All Angels. Today, the parsonage has been transformed into the Brontë Parsonage Museum where visitors can explore their collection of Brontë manuscripts, letters, early editions of the novels and poetry, along with secondary material relating to the Brontës. Also proclaiming its Brontë heritage is the Church of St. Michael and All Angels, with the Brontë  Memorial Chapel (completed in 1964) and the Brontë Memorial tomb where all but Ann Brontë are interred. The village is also surrounded by the breath-taking South Pennine moorland, and the rugged Haworth Moors are the perfect place to trace the steps of both the Brontë family and some of their celebrated characters.

Gothic heritage

Haworth is inseparably connected with the Brontë family, and Haworth moors in particular are notable for their depiction in Emily Brontë’s 1847 Gothic novel Wuthering Height. Published under the masculine pseudonym Ellis Bell, Wuthering Heights tells the story of Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff who grow up on the moors, all of which are portrayed as rugged and wild. Using the moors as a backdrop, Emily Brontë may have been further inspired by the surrounding locale, and Top Withens, a ruined farmhouse on the moors near Haworth, is said to have inspired the Earnshaw family house. Incorporating Yorkshire dialect, and representing the sometimes savage, cruel, and violent relationships between Cathy and Heathcliff, Wuthering Heights remains a strange but extraordinary novel. Famously, the ghost of Cathy clutches the hand of Healthcliff in an icy grip, calling out to him: “I’m come home: I’d lost my way on the moor!”

Other Literary heritage

As well as Emily’s Wuthering Heights, the Brontë sisters also wrote the following novels, many of which were written at the Haworth Parsonage: The Professor, Jane Eyre, Shirley, and Villette(penned by Charlotte Brontë) and Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (written by Ann Brontë).

Further information

Brontë 200 is a five year programme organised by the Bronte Parsonage Museum that celebrates the bicentenaries of the births of four of the Brontës, with events taking place from 2016 until 2020. 2018 also saw the launch of the Brontë Stones Project celebrating the legacy of the Brontë sisters, and there are several walks in and around Haworth that connect the village to the life of the Brontës. One of these is the Brontë Way, which passes through Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Along with its Brontë connection and beautiful walks, Haworth also possesses a beautiful railway station. Built in the 19th century, it was also used the location for the 1970s film The Railway Children.

Interesting fact

Wuthering Heights and its Gothic moors have inspired many novels, poems, and songs, the most famous being Kate Bush’s 1978 song “Wuthering Heights”  and the two accompanying music videos. After reading the novel, Bush discovered that she shares her birthday with its author, Emily Brontë.

For Visitors

You can find more information about visiting Haworth at the following links:

https://www.yorkshire.com/places/west-yorkshire/bradford/haworth

https://www.visitbradford.com/haworth.aspx

https://www.bradfordlitfest.co.uk/

https://www.bronte.org.uk/