Belfast Telegraph

Withering Heights: Bronte church at risk from disrepair

By John Mulgrew

The resting place of an Ulster father and his world famous literary daughters is under threat unless it can raise much needed funds.

Bronte sisters Charlotte and Emily are buried along with their Co Down father Patrick in the grounds of Haworth Parish Church in Yorkshire - which is now struggling to raise tens of thousands of pounds towards the cost of repairs to its roof.

It's understood it now needs to raise around £37,000 in order to secure £100,000 in funding from English Heritage - having already gathered some £28,000.

Patrick Bronte was originally from outside Banbridge in Co Down.

Born on St Patrick's Day in 1777, he also authored a range of books and poetry and fathered a total of six children, which included writers Charlotte, Emily and Anne and their brother Branwell. Two of his daughters, Maria and Elizabeth, died aged 11 and 10 respectively.

He came from a very poor family of farm workers before moving to England to study and subsequently became the Anglican curate of the parish of Haworth where he and the rest of his family are now buried.

The literary greats wrote some of the best known classics of the period, including Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights.

Both books were written in the west Yorkshire town and the area sees thousands flocking to the church every year.

Many of the family's works have subsequently been turned into both television and big screen adaptations.

It's understood Haworth Church now needs a total of £1.25m to pay for work on a leaking roof and a number of damaged paintings due to the water damage.

Recent lead thefts have only added to the church's ongoing financial struggle to obtain enough funding to complete its repairs.

Belfast Telegraph


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