Anne Brontë was born in Thornton, Bradford on 17th January 1820, the sixth child of Patrick and Maria Brontë. With her older sisters Charlotte and Emily she would be a central part of the most famous, and talented, literary family of all time. Her works may not be as well known as Charlotte’s ‘Jane Eyre’ or Emily’s ‘Wuthering Heights’, but novels ‘Agnes Grey’ and ‘The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall’ are exquisitely crafted, and gaining new fans across the globe.
Anne had a brief but eventful life. Her mother died when she was just one year old, mere months after the Brontë family’s move to Haworth. Her eldest sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, died during their schooldays, meaning that Anne, Charlotte, Emily, and their brother Branwell were taught primarily at home. Anne would later attend Roe Head school in Mirfield, where she nearly died of Typhoid and had a crisis of faith that would change her view of life.
Overcoming her chronic shyness, Anne became a governess to the Ingham and then Robinson families. She also secured her brother Branwell a position as tutor with the Robinsons, a move that would have disastrous consequences and send him into a spiral of drink and drug addiction.
She briefly held love in her heart for her father’s curate William Weightman, but this kind hearted man caught cholera from a sick parishioner he visited and died aged 28. This was to form the catalyst for the powerful poems of loss and mourning Anne would write. By the summer of 1846 all three sisters were writing novels under male pseudonyms: novels that will be remembered as some of the greatest ever written, but this creative flowering was to be painfully short lived.
In September 1848 Branwell died, from a combination of tuberculosis and the results of his addictions, and Anne’s beloved sister Emily would follow him to the grave in December. Anne too was unable to shake off the spectre of tuberculosis. She died in Scarborough on 28th May 1849, aged just 29, in the company of Charlotte and their friend Ellen Nussey. Showing characteristic concern for others, Anne’s last words were: ‘Take courage, Charlotte, take courage!’
This Anne Brontë blog will take a fresh look at the life and works of Anne, as well as news and events relating to the Brontë family as a whole. It’s time for Anne Brontë to step out of the shadows, and gain the full recognition that her talent deserves.