It was always a special place to me. Somewhere I went as a young person, to walk and take in the atmosphere.
But they say there’s trouble in t’mill. It’s all to do with tradition versus modernity.
We can have both, can’t we. I like the Chinese interpretation in characters of passages from the Bronte novels.
The Parsonage itself is set in time. It exudes calmness and serenity.
Let me close the door she said so you can take a picture, it looks better. But you can’t take photos inside.
Artefacts and history sit in glass cabinets. Boards tell the story of each room.
The blues and greens of walls, stone floors and stairs, gentle curling banister and long case windows all remind me of a house I once lived in, in the same village.
But the real story wasn’t written on the walls. The one of disease – cholera, typhoid and tb. The life of the mill workers, the murky water which Mr Bronte fought to have cleaned for over a decade.
A graveyard full of children and young people. The Brontes faired well and lived longer because they had their own well. But they were blighted by a family illness – incurable.
Just 200 years ago, the process of the beginning of industrialisation was beginning on the Pennine ridge. This was not a romantic place.
Yet during that time, three sisters wrote stories which are part of us today. Not just locally, nationally – but internationally too.
Everyone has found a way to fall in love with a Bronte tale. Women who wrote under male pseudonyms didn’t fool us for long.
So what’s stirring. Why the conflict. We can have both tradition and modernity.
I looked around and came away with a copy of Jane Eyre. I’m sending it to a friend in Europe with a letter. The old-fashioned way. I’ve sent her an email to say that it’s on its way.
Here’s my modern slant on the Parsonage and the Brontes:
The Parsonage – Kazumi (beautiful peace)
Emily Bronte – Akira (clear and intelligent)
Charlotte Bronte – Naoki (tree of truth)
Anne Bronte – Hisao (story of life)
I’d like to move back one day – I’m not far at the moment – just down the road. But I feel the need to walk the walks every morning and to have my muse, Charlotte, near by. Oh, and the crows of course. To finish my writing and editing on cobbled streets. To come full circle.