|74 Market Street in Thornton, the birthplace of Anne|
Photo © Paul Glazzard
Her mother Maria Bramwell came from a comfortable merchant family and after the death of her parents had gone to help her Aunt Jane and Uncle John at a new Methodist school, Woodhouse Grove [photo].
Patrick Bronte was invited to serve as an examiner at the school. His determination and intelligence and her industrious nature struck a chord with each-other and they married three months later.
Their family is something of a literary legend. They had six children, Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte, Bramwell, Emily, and Anne. Shortly after Anne's birth the Rev. Bronte took a stable position as perpetual curate of Haworth Parsonage.
Among the wild landscape they settled into what remained their home for life albeit one where they would experience many hardships. The first being the illness of their mother, it's believed she suffered from cancer.
Her sister Elizabeth came to nurse her and help the family. The Rev. must have been tormented at the possibility of losing all his family when the children contracted Scarlet Fever. They survived, but their mother did not.
Aunt Elizabeth was a stern lady who seemed to have rarely shown tenderness to any except Anne, who was her favorite. Perhaps this would played a role in the friction Charlotte seemed to harbor over Anne.
|Haworth Parsonage, the Bronte home|
Photo © Daily Mail
Although only four, the loss of her sisters left a great void. It affected Charlotte and Emily deeply. But she was an astute little girl, it's said one day when her father asked her what a child wanted most she answered "age and experience."
|The moors near Haworth|
Photo © Rob Glover
They invented characters and stories of the people who lived there. When Anne was about eleven she and Emily broke away from Angria and created another place, Gondal. The two were inseparable:
... bound up in their lives and interests like twins. The former from reserve, the latter from timidity, avoided all friendships and intimacies beyond their sisters.
Emily was impervious to influence; she never came in contact with public opinion, and her own decision of what was right and fitting was a law for her conduct and appearance, with which she allowed no one to interfere. Her love was poured out on Anne, as Charlotte's was on her.
- Elizabeth Gaskell's The Life of Charlotte Bronte
Charlotte in turn spent much time with Bramwell, but was then sent to Roe Head school where she later became a teacher, her salary mostly paying for Emily to now study there. It was a hard transition for Emily. As her writing later implied she was a person of extreme emotions and the turmoil of her homesickness made her physically ill. She was brought back home and Anne sent in her place.