Jane Eyre (Emily Bronte) is one of my all-time favourite novels (unoriginal I know, but it is undoubtedly one of the greatest stories in English literature after all), so I was curious to visit the environment that inspired it along with Wuthering Heights (Charlotte Bronte) and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Anne Bronte).
The Bronte Parsonage Museum is beautifully maintained and packed full of family memorabilia, original furniture and facts and information for visitors to guide themselves around. Details such as where the Bronte sisters lived and worked are well documented but not so much is known of their personalities, characters and minds. The Museum does little to enlighten these areas beyond displaying a few saved letters, whilst much more is known about the private life of their wayward brother Branwell. The sisters’ carefully kept privacy means the mystery of what inspired books containing such torment and gothic themes remains largely unsolved.
Make sure you leave time to at least walk up and down the main cobbled street of Haworth. Perched on the side of the Aire valley, with tea rooms, quirky gift shops (a visit to ‘Spooks’, where you can buy ingredients for casting spells is a must!!!) and stunning views of Yorkshire countryside, Haworth is so beautiful and quintessentially English it almost looks like a film set.
‘Ghosts’, a photography exhibition by Sam Taylor-Wood is also on display at the Parsonage until 2 November. The dramatic landscapes are inspired by Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights and show the surrounding moors at their most wild and bleak. The pieces are interspersed around the Parsonage, hanging above fireplaces and in bedrooms so naturally that you almost miss them. Although a tad dark and uninviting for my liking, there’s no doubting the power and strength of the landscape, and a few cutting rays of sunshine, flowing streams and one cheeky ram hiding in the long grass help to lighten the mood.