So much has been written about the Brontes, you might wonder what could be said about them that hasn’t been said before.

But in considering the family and their work within the social and historic context of Haworth, and exploring how the village came to be a world-famous literary shrine, Ann Dinsdale presents a thorough, comprehensive account of the Brontes and the people and places that shaped them.

In The Brontes of Haworth, Ann – librarian at the Bronte Parsonage Museum – traces the story of each family member, explores their novels and poetry, and presents a detailed picture of Haworth in the mid-19th century.

The book is beautifully illustrated with rarely-seen images from the Haworth archives, including drawings by Charlotte and Emily, and haunting pictures by photographer Simon Warner.

While Ann creates a vivid picture of 19th century Haworth, she doesn’t romanticise the place.

In the chapter ‘Life and Death in Haworth’, she highlights the 1850 General Board of Health report revealing that despite the village’s hilltop setting, its life expectancy of 25 years corresponded with some London slums. The report estimated that more than 41 per cent of children in Haworth died before the age of six.

“It is difficult not to be moved by the many memorials to children in Haworth churchyard,” writes Ann.

Although the Brontes’ home was of a better standard than most, the family didn’t escape the diseases sweeping through the village. Even in death they continue to be romanticised.

“Haworth churchyard would have made an appropriately gloomy resting place for the Brontes, and many visitors to the area are disappointed on learning that they are in fact buried inside the church,” writes Ann.

“One of these visitors was the poet Matthew Arnold. When he came to write his elegy Haworth Churchyard, 1855 on the death of Charlotte, he imaginatively placed Charlotte and her siblings ‘In a churchyard high mid the moors’ and was not pleased to learn of his mistake.”

Poignantly, Ann includes an image of the funeral card for Emily’s burial, in December, 1848. “Behind the coffin walked Mr Bronte with (Emily’s beloved dog) Keeper who stayed at the head of the little procession and entered the family pew-box with them, where he remained throughout the service”.

Ann presents a lively picture of Haworth and its characters, including Baptist minister William Grimshaw who brought fame to the village a century before the Brontes’ arrival.

“Colourful tales abound of him haranguing sinners and driving his parishioners from public house to church, brandishing a horsewhip,” she writes.

She takes the reader to Haworth’s cluster of pubs, including the Black Bull, frequented by Branwell Bronte, and up the narrow lane at the top of Main Street, climbing past the church and Sunday school, leading to the Parsonage, “virtually the last house in Haworth before the open moors”.

She goes on to trace life beyond the Brontes; examining the legacy of their writing and developments leading to the establishment of the Bronte Parsonage Museum.

Growing interest in the Brontes, throughout the 20th century, is reflected in lovely old photographs of frenzied crowds in Haworth. In one image, of the Ideal Film Company arriving in 1920 to make the first film of Wuthering Heights, crowds are thronging Main Street to catch a glimpse of leading actors Milton Rosmer and Anne Trevor.