A Bronte blood-line has been renewed at the Parsonage home of the famous literary family in Haworth.

Four women, all with links to the Rev Patrick Bronte, father of the three classic novel-writing sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne, met for the first time at the Bronte Parsonage Museum.

They were brought together thanks to Bronte Society member and Bronte enthusiast Imelda Marsden.

Mrs Marsden has re-published a long-forgotten biography of Mr Bronte called The Father of the Brontes, written by W W Yates, one of the instigators of the Bronte Society.

The four women were invited to the Bronte Parsonage Museum at Haworth when copies of the reproductions were delivered.

The 500 copies had been officially launched the day before at Heald Hall Hotel, Liversedge.

The four "cousins" are Olive Kellett, 90, and her daughter Carol Fox, 63, both of Bingley, and Carol Bronte and Margaret Thompson, of Emdale, Northern Ireland, Patrick Bronte's birthplace.

Mrs Kellett and her daughter are related to Mr Bronte through his sister Sarah, whose daughter Rose Ann Heslip emigrated to the Bradford area and is buried in Cleckheaton.

Mrs Fox said years of investigation by Mrs Marsden had led to confirming the family link.

"My mother had said for years that we were related to the Brontes and now Imelda has confirmed it. Rose Ann is my great, great, great grandmother.

"I have read most of the Bronte novels but for some reason I have an inexplicable urge to read Jane Eyre every five years or so.

"It was a wonderful to see Carol and Margaret. I have been invited to go to Ireland to see Patrick's birthplace and I would love to go."

Carol Bronte, 61, and Mrs Thompson live in Rathfriland Northern Ireland, Patrick Bronte's home until he went to Cambridge University.

Mrs Bronte, who is Patrick's great, great great niece, said: "It was lovely to see Carol and Olive. We always wondered what had happened to Patrick's sister Sarah's family. It was the missing link."

Mrs Marsden said: "I was thrilled to be able to bring them together for the first time."

Copies of the facsimile, selling at £14.99, have been ordered by Harvard University and a university in Japan.

Money raised by the sale is to go to Hollybank School for severely disabled young people at Mirfield. It was originally Roehead School, where Charlotte Bronte was a pupil.

The Bronte Society has an original copy of the book, which is stored in the library at the museum in Haworth.

e-mail: clive.white@bradford.newsquest.co.uk


W W Yates, author of The Father of the Brontes, was by profession a journalist and editor of the Dewsbury Reporter. But his passion was the novels and lives of the Brontes, and in the early 1890s helped in the campaign to found The Bronte Society.

His book about the Rev Patrick Bronte, the father of the Bronte brood of authors Charlotte, Emily and Anne, artist Branwell, Marie and Elizabeth, was published in 1897.

Patrick lived until his early 20s in Ruthfriland, now in Northern Ireland, until he won a place at Cambridge University. Arriving in Britian, he changed his name from Brunty to Bronte. He settled in the Bradford area in Thornton and then, in 1820, in Haworth with his Cornish-born wife Marie and their six children when he became in charge of Haworth church. He was 33 and spent the rest of his life there.

He was a published poet and his children inherited his love of language.

His wife died about a year after they arrived in the village. Patrick outlived all his children.

He lived on at the Parsonage for another six years, dying on June 7, 1861, aged 84.