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Biography of Charlotte Bronte

Portrait of Charlotte Bronte

Charlotte Bronte was the eldest of the three Victorian novel writing sisters famous for writing Jane Eyre.

When and Where was Charlotte Bronte Born?

21st April 1816, The Vicarage, 74 Market Street, Thornton, Yorkshire, England.

Family Background:

Charlotte was the daughter of a Cleric, Patrick Bronte and sister to Branwell, Emily and Anne  Bronte.


Clergy Daughter’s School, Cowan Bridge. Miss Wooler’s School, Roe Head.

Timeline of Charlotte Bronte:

1816: Charlotte’s father is appointed perpetual curate at Haworth in Yorkshire.

1820: Her sister Anne is baptised in the “Old Bell Chapel” at Thornton on 25th March. In April the Bronte family move to the Parsonage at Haworth.

Bronte Parsonage, Haworth
The Bronte Parsonage, Haworth where all three sisters lived with their father and brother. (copyright Anthony Blagg)

1821: Death of her mother on 15th September.

1825: Death of her sisters Maria (aged 11) on 6th May and Elizabeth (aged 10) on 15th June from consumption.

1829: Charlotte Bronte takes up writing about her fantasy world of Glasstown and Angria. All the Bronte children receive art lessons from John Bradley of Keighley.

1832: She returns home to help tutor her sisters.

1835: Charlotte goes back to Roe Head School as a teacher.

1838: She returns to Haworth after handing in her resignation.

1842: Charlotte goes to Brussels with Emily in February to study at the Pensionat Heger. Death of her Aunt Elizabeth in November and they return home.

1843: She returns to Brussels to teach English and to further studies.

1844: Charlotte returns home and tries to open a school in Haworth but there are no takers for such an isolated spot.

1845: Branwell suggests to his sisters that novel writing is a profitable business.

1846: “Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell” (The sister’s pseudonyms) published in May with the family paying the costs. Offers “The Professor” for publication without success. In August she begins writing “Jane Eyre”.

St Michael and All Angels Church
St Michael and All Angels Church, Haworth and a sign showing the gate used by the family to access the church from the parsonage (copyright Anthony Blagg)
Plaque at Bronte church gate
Detail of the Plaque at the gate of the church used by the Brontes (copyright Anthony Blagg)

1847: “Jane Eyre” is published in October and is highly acclaimed. “Wuthering Heights” by Emily and “Agnes Grey” by Anne are both published in December.

1848: “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” by Anne is published in June. Death of her brother Branwell from consumption on 24th September. Death of her sister Emily from consumption on 19th December.

1849: Anne is examined at Haworth by Doctor Teale in January and found to have consumption. On 25th May Charlotte goes with Anne  and her friend Ellen Nussey on 26th May to Scarborough. The next day Anne goes swimming alone but collapses. In the afternoon she drives herself on South Sands in a donkey cart. Charlotte discusses with Anne about returning to Haworth on 27th May but it is too late. Anne dies on 28th May from Consumption. Publication of “Shirley” during October.

1852: Charlotte visits Anne’s grave and realises there are several mistakes on the tombstone which she has corrected.

1853: Publication of “Villette”.

1854: She marries Arthur Bell Nicholls, her father’s curate, despite objections from her father on 29th June.

(1893): The Bronte Society is established.

When and Where did she Die?

31st March 1855, Haworth, Yorkshire, England, in the early stages of pregnancy of excessive vomiting. (Her own physician attributed her death to tuberculosis, but later observers have concluded that it was hyperemesis gravidarum, a complication in pregnancy that has been ascribed by some as neurosis and a rejection of her pregnancy).

Age at Death:


Written Works:

1846: “Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell”.
1847: “The Professor (Published 1857). “Jane Eyre”
1849: “Shirley”.
1853: “Villette”.
(1925): “The Twelve Adventurers and Other Stories.”
(1933): “The Legends of Angria”.
(1971): “Five Novellettes” A collection of Juvenilia.


29th June 1854: To Arthur Bell Nicholls, her father’s curate despite objections from her father.

Site of Grave:

St. Michael and All Angels Church, Haworth, Yorkshire, England.

St Michael and All Angels Church
St Michael and All Angels Church, Haworth and a sign showing the gate used by the family to access the church from the parsonage (copyright Anthony Blagg)
Bronte Memorial
Memorial Plaque to Emily and Charlotte in St Michael and All Angels Church and engraving above the family vault (copyright Anthony Blagg)

Places of Interest:


Brontë Parsonage Museum.
Haworth, Keighley.
West Yorkshire BD22
Oakwell Hall country park, batley area visited in Shirley.
Red House Museum, Gomersal. (Former home of her friend Mary Taylor).
Norton Conyers, Ripon. (is Thornfield Hall mentioned in “Jane Eyre”).
Red House Museum, Gomersal. (House of her friend Mary Taylor).