The Anne Brontë Blog

Thursday, 10 June 2010

A Concise Overview of Reverend Patrick Brontë

Life and Character

Patrick was the eldest of the ten children of Hugh Brunty, an agricultural labourer, and Eleanor (Alice) McClory, of Drumballyroney, County Down, Northern Ireland. He was apprenticed to a blacksmith and then to a linen weaver, by sixteen, he showed an aptitude for scholarly pursuits, being self taught in many subjects, he was Master of the village school. At first self-educated, he was later helped by local clergymen, Revs. Andrew Harshaw, and Thomas Tighe. He entered St. John's College, Cambridge in 1802, where he adopted the name Brontë (which is translated from Greek to thunder). It is speculated that Patrick was inspired by the assumed title of one of his heroes the Duke of Bronte. The accompanying photograph was taken during the later years of his life. Nelly Nussey apparently regarded him as a hypochondriac; he wore a large white silk cravat to protect him from bronchial illnesses. Patrick had a phobia of ill health, remaining to a certain extent healthier than most of the period, surviving until the age of eighty-four he died in 1861, having served the Howarth religious community for forty-one years.

He was ordained into the Church of England in 1807 and held curacies at: Wethersfield, Essex (1807), Wellington, Shropshire (1808), Dewsbury, Yorkshire (1809), Hartshead, Yorkshire (1810) and Thornton, Yorkshire (1815). In 1820 he was appointed Perpetual Curate of the villages of Haworth, Stanbury and Oxenhope, within the Parish of Bradford. He was an Evangelical and a popular preacher, and he held the living in Haworth for 41 years, assisted by a succession of his own curates including Arthur Bell Nicholls.

Winter Evening Thoughts, (1810). Cottage Poems, (1810), The Rural Minstrel: A Miscellany of Descriptive Poems, (1813). The Cottage in the Wood, (1816), The Maid of Killarney, (1818), The Signs of the Times, (1835).

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