One of the first things I wanted to fit in to my two years in the UK from long before my arrival was a trip to Haworth to visit the Bronte Parsonage. I had finished my Master’s dissertation only a few months before landing in London and the Bronte sisters were one of my case studies, and through my research I found they were quite fascinating.
Charlotte, Emily and Anne grew up in the village of Haworth in Yorkshire, which happily is rather well preserved and still very small, making it easy to imagine what their lives might have been like there in the 1800s. The parsonage is on top of a hill on the outskirts of the village, with only moors and I presume some farms behind, and a cemetery, complete with the church where the Bronte family are buried, in front. The day I was there was so incredibly foggy and dark that it was difficult to see much beyond the stone walls that surround the house, but it felt like just the lonely place I had imagined — and that I’m sure inspired many of the well-known homes in the Bronte novels. The reason I was so fascinated by the Brontes, and so eager to visit their home (where the majority of their short lives were spent apart from brief periods abroad, but more importantly where they learned to write and composed some of what I believe are the most beautifully-written books) was because I think anyone that can write the way they did about human nature after rather uneventful lives with relatively little social interaction, not to mention their ages at the time of writing such books, must be incredibly intelligent with an almost supernatural understanding of the world. Perhaps I visited on the one day a year the weather is so poor, but in my experience the village, the parsonage and the moors in particular are just as mystical and gloomy as the most miserable places the Brontes wrote about, and in the end it was a day that fulfilled all of my Haworth hopes. I cannot say I wasn’t happy to return to the bright lights of London though!