Ambition took him from a rural Irish cottage to a life of study

Patrick Brunty (or Prunty) was the eldest of 10 children of Hugh Brunty, an agricultural labourer, and Eleanor – or Alice – McClory, of Drumballyroney, County Down, Northern Ireland. He was born at Emdale on March 17, 1777, and apprenticed as a boy to a blacksmith then a linen weaver, but by 16 was master of the village school. At first self-educated, he was later helped by local clergymen Andrew Harshaw and Thomas Tighe. He entered St. John's College, Cambridge, in 1802, where he adopted the name Brontë (Greek for thunder). When he graduated in 1806 he visited his family in Ireland, but after returning to England never visited Ireland again...

He was ordained into the Church of England in 1807 and held curacies at Wethersfield, Essex (1807), Wellington, Shropshire (1808), Dewsbury, Yorkshire (1809), Hartshead, Yorkshire (1810) and Thornton, Yorkshire (1815). In 1820 he was appointed Perpetual Curate of Haworth, Stanbury and Oxenhope, within the Parish of Bradford. He was an evangelical and a popular preacher, and held the living in Haworth for 41 years, assisted by a succession of curates, including Arthur Bell Nicholls.

He married Maria Branwell at Guiseley, Yorkshire, on the December 29, 1812. They had one son and five daughters: Maria (1814), Elizabeth (1815), Charlotte (1816), Patrick Branwell (1817), Emily Jane (1818) and Anne (1820). The family moved into Haworth Parsonage in 1820. Maria Brontë died from cancer in 1821, and her sister Elizabeth moved in to look after the children at the Parsonage, until her death 21 years later.

Patrick Brontë was tall and slim with red hair. A Tory, he was an energetic campaigner on a wide range of religious, social and political issues, and a tolerant, attentive father. After the Cowan Bridge disaster, where his two young daughters died, he personally took charge of his children’s education, but a long life marked by a succession of family tragedies turned a socially engaged man in his forties into the dour, reclusive septuagenarian described in Elizabeth Gaskell's The Life of Charlotte Brontë (1857). His eyesight deteriorated in his 60s and 70s and he had a cataract removed in 1846. He suffered from dyspepsia and bronchitis all his adult life, both contributing to his death at the age of 84 on June 7, 1861.

Mr Brontë never re-married, outlived all his children, and has no direct descendants.

Winter Evening Thoughts, (1810). Cottage Poems, (1810). The Rural Minstrel: A Miscellany of Descriptive Poems, (1813). The Cottage In The Wood, (1816). The Maid Of Killarney, (1818). The Signs Of The Times, (1835).

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