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 Charlotte Bronte

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Charlotte Bronte

  • Birth 21 Apr 1816 Thornton, Metropolitan Borough of Bradford, West Yorkshire, England
  • Death 31 Mar 1855 Haworth, Metropolitan Borough of Bradford, West Yorkshire, England
  • Burial Haworth, Metropolitan Borough of Bradford, West Yorkshire, England
  • Memorial ID 1708

British Novelist and Poet. She was the oldest of the three Bronte sisters who became renowned authors, the others being Emily and Anne Bronte. Additionally, she was also an accomplished artist. She was born the fourth of six children in Thornton, West Riding of Yorkshire, England, the daughter of Patrick and Marie Bronte. Her father, an Anglican priest, was the Thornton chapel curate as well as an amateur poet. When she was four years old, her father was appointed to the perpetual curacy in the nearby town of Haworth and the family moved into the 5-room Haworth Parsonage where they would spend the rest of their lives. In 1821 her mother died and her aunt (her mother's sister) moved in the home to help raise the children. She received her basic education at home from her aunt, which included reading, drawing, and music. She read all of the literary classics from her father's vast library, along with newspapers and magazines which helped to shape her imagination and creativity. In 1824 she and her sisters Maria, Elizabeth, and Emily attended the Clergy Daughters' School at Cowan Bridge in Lancashire, England. When her two oldest sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, died of tuberculosis in 1825, her father removed her and Emily from the school and brought them home where they would spend their time creating literary fictional and imaginary worlds. From 1831 to 1832 she attended Roe Head School in Mirfield, a boarding school for girls in West Yorkshire, England. In 1833 she penned a novella "The Green Dwarf, A Tale of the Perfect Tense" using the pseudonym Lord Charles Albert Florian Wellesley. She returned to Roe Head in 1835, taking her youngest sister, Anne, with her, and worked as a teacher until 1838. From 1839 to 1841, she worked as a governess for several families in Yorkshire, England, including the wealthy Sidgwick family at Stone Gap in Lothersdale, where one of her charges was the future clergyman John Benson Sidgwick. She then decided to start a school for girls in Haworth in an effort to keep the family together there and in February 1842 she and Emily traveled to Brussels, Belgium to learn foreign languages and school management at the Pension Heger. When her aunt died in October 1842, they returned to Haworth and Emily stayed behind and Charlotte returned to Brussels, but returned to Haworth in January 1844. In 1845 she, Emily, and Anne were unemployed at their father's home, and without any potential job prospects they decided to publish the poems they had written over the years. Without anyone's knowledge they came up with the money to have the collection published, using the pseudonyms Currer Bell (Charlotte), Ellis Bell (Emily), and Acton Bell (Anne). The collection, titled "Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell" was published in May 1846. It received favorable reviews but was a complete failure. During this time she had been working on her novel "Jane Eyre," which tells a story of a plain governess who falls in love with her employer. It was published in late 1847 and was an instant success, receiving favorable reviews. In 1848 she began working on her second novel, "Shirley," but it was delayed due to a series of tragic events in her family, including the death of her brother Branwell who died from a combination of alcoholism and chronic bronchitis (most likely tuberculosis) in September 1848, the death of her sister Emily three months later from tuberculosis, and the death of her sister Anne from tuberculosis in May 1849. She resumed her work on "Shirley" after Anne's death and it was published in October 1849. In 1853 she published her third novel, "Villette," the last one published in her lifetime. Prior to that she had received a proposal of marriage from Arthur Bell Nicholls, who was her father's curate at Haworth. She initially turned it down but finally accepted it in January 1854 and they were married the following June after receiving her father's approval. She became pregnant soon after the marriage but her health started to decline and she died with her unborn child at Haworth the following March at the age of 38. Her death certificate gives the cause of death as phthisis (a wasting away). Her first unpublished novel "The Professor" (written prior to "Jane Eyre"), was published posthumously in 1857.

Bio by: William Bjornstad

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 1708
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Charlotte Bronte (21 Apr 1816–31 Mar 1855), Find A Grave Memorial no. 1708, citing St Michael and All Angels Churchyard, Haworth, Metropolitan Borough of Bradford, West Yorkshire, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .