haworth1 haworth2 haworth3 haworth4This time last year we went to visit our friends in Leeds. With a special request from me, we caught the steam train from Keighley to Oxenhope with a stopover at Haworth to visit the stamping ground of the Brontës. There is no better time of year than a cold November day to visit their home and the church to understand the bleakness of their surroundings. A visitor in 1850 described the churchyard as ‘a dreary, dreary place, literally paved with rain-blackened tombstones‘ and 150 years later, not much has changed. Another biographer writes that the graves ‘crowd and bristle and conceal the turf; and when it rains, the slab surfaces appal the eye with their unbroken gleam‘. I have never been to a graveyard quite like this, it was so gloomy and menacing and didn’t have any of the gentle time-worn peace of other English churchyards. The other thing that struck me from reading the gravestones was that it wasn’t out of the ordinary for the Brontë sisters to die so tragically young – life was short and harsh in that cold, grim town. For an excellent read about the sisters, try ‘Eminent Victorian Women‘ by Elizabeth Longford.

It wasn’t all hard-core though – we also visited an old apothecary shop and a sweet shop!haworth5