‘Wedding bells for brontes’

Keighley News: Bronte re-enactor Lynne Cunliffe in period costume to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Maria Bronte’s marriage Bronte re-enactor Lynne Cunliffe in period costume to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Maria Bronte’s marriage

A special wedding anniversary is being celebrated at the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth this weekend.

A day of free activities takes place on Saturday to mark 200 years since Patrick Bronte and Maria Branwell tied the knot.

The couple – who married at Guiseley Church – became parents to famous literary sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne and their brother Branwell.

They also had two other daughters – Maria and Elizabeth – who died in childhood.

‘Mrs Bronte’ will be touring the museum, formerly the family’s home, between 11am and 4pm on Saturday.

There will also be a short talk at intervals throughout the day about Patrick and Maria’s courtship and wedding, a chance to handle period costume items, children’s activities in the foyer and free wedding cake.

Ann Dinsdale, acting director at the museum, said Patrick and Maria had a passionate whirlwind romance.

“They met when Maria – who was from Penzance – was visiting relatives in West Yorkshire,” she said. “Her uncle was headmaster of Woodhouse Grove School and Patrick was an examiner in classics there.

“Quite a few of her love letters survive and they are quite passionate – she refers to him as ‘my dear saucy Pat’. They were married on December 29, 1812, within a few months of meeting.”

Maria’s cousin, Jane, was bridesmaid and Patrick’s friend and fellow clergyman, William Morgan, officiated.

The couple and their family moved from Thornton – birthplace of Charlotte, Emily, Anne and Branwell – to Haworth in 1820. But Maria died, aged 38, about 18 months later. Patrick went on to outlive all his children. He was 84 when he died in 1861.

There will also be a full peal of the bells at Haworth Parish Church at 3pm on Saturday to mark the 200th anniversary, and the 39th wedding anniversary of the current priest-in-charge, the Rev Peter Mayo-Smith, and his wife Eileen.

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