A former chairman of the Bronte Society, author and compiler of the Bronte Encyclopaedia, has died.

Dr Robert Barnard was also a prolific crime writer as well as being a “mine of information” on Haworth’s most famous residents.

He died on Friday at Grove Court Nursing Home in Leeds, at 76.

Along with his wife Louise, he compiled The Bronte Encyclopaedia in 2007, referred to by the society as “a cornerstone for modern Bronte scholarship.”

He was chair of the society twice and also wrote a book on Emily Bronte’s life.

Essex born and Leeds based, Mr Barnard spent lots of time at the Bronte Parsonage and around Haworth.

He started writing crime novels in the 1970s, writing over 40 books and short stories and receiving the Cartier Diamond Dagger award in 2003 for services to crime fiction.

Marcel Berlins, critic at The Times, called Mr Barnard: “One of our most original and versatile bloodspillers.”

The Bronte Society’s Richard Wilcocks said: “Well known in the Bronte Society, he was a professor, a scholar and an award-winning crime writer.”