Biography of Emily Bronte

Emily Bronte

Emily Bronte was the second eldest of the Victorian Yorkshire sisters who wrote novels and is famous for “Wuthering Heights”.

When and Where was she Born?

30th July 1818, The Vicarage, 74 Market Street, Thornton, Yorkshire, England.

Family Background:

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

Education:

Clergy Daughter’s School, Cowan Bridge. Miss Wooler’s School, Roe Head and at home at Haworth.

Timeline of Emily Bronte:

1820: Anne Baptised in the “Old Bell Chapel” at Thornton on 25th March. The Bronte family move to Parsonage at Haworth during April.

1821: Death of her mother on 5h September.

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

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

1826: Mr Bronte gives Branwell some model soldiers in June which help the girls form their own fantasy world of little people.

1829: All the Bronte children receive art lessons from John Bradley of Keighley.

1831: Emily and Anne develop the fantasy world of Gondal.

1834: The earliest surviving Gondal manuscript is written on November 24th describing Caaldine.

1835: Emily is sent home permanently from school after feeling unwell and emaciated.

1836: Writing of the earliest dated poem on 12th July.

1837: Emily goes to Halifax, Yorkshire to teach at Law Hill School for a short period.

1839: She abandons her post at Law Hill which Charlotte describes as “hard labour from six in the morning to eleven at night.”

1842: She goes to Brussels in February to study at the Pensionat Heger. Death of her Aunt Elizabeth in November and returns home.

1843: Emily remains at home alone with her father and begins a period of major creativity.

1844: She divides her Gondal work from her non-Gondal work in two separate notebooks. Tries to open a school in Haworth with Charlotte but there are no takers for such an isolated spot.

1845: Branwell suggests to his sisters that novel writing is a profitable business. In October Charlotte stumbles across her poems much to her annoyance but convinces her that they should publish some poems together.

Top Withens Farmhouse
Top Withens farmhouse on the Penine Way. 
Emily is thought to have used the location for Wuthering Heights 
although the description of the house differs substantially (copyright Anthony Blagg)

1846: “Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell” (The sister’s pseudonyms) published  in May with the family paying the costs. “Wuthering Heights” is finished during July and is sent to several publishers along with Anne’s “Agnes Grey” and Charlotte’s “The Professor”.

1847: The publisher Thomas Cautley Newby accepts “Wuthering Heights” and “Agnes Grey” but not “The Professor”. Cautley delays publishing until Charlotte’s “Jane Eyre” arouses interest in the “Bells” during December.

1848: The literary world, including their publisher, think that the three “Bells” are in fact the same author. Anne publishes the “Tenant of Wildfell Hall”. Emily withdraws from life. Death of her brother Branwell from consumption on 24th September. Emily leaves the Parsonage on 1st October for the last time to attend Branwell’s funeral and catches a severe cold which becomes an inflammation of the lungs.

(1850): “Wuthering Heights” is re-issued with some of Emily’s poems and an introduction by Charlotte.

(1893): The Bronte Society Established.

When and Where did she Die?

19th December 1848, Haworth, Yorkshire, England, of consumption.

Age at Death:

29.

Written Works:

1846: “Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell”.
1845-6: “Wuthering Heights”.
(1941): “The Complete Poems of Emily Jane Bronte”.

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)

Marriage:

Never Married.

Site of Grave:

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

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:

YORKSHIRE:

Bronte Parsonage Museum, Haworth, Keighley, West Yorkshire, BD22 8DR. www.bronte.info/