Bronte at Broughton: If Charlotte had been to the Hall
A recent article in the Craven Herald focussed on the most famous of the Bronte sisters, Charlotte, and her time spent as a governess at a house called Stone Gappe on the outskirts of our home town, Skipton. Some interesting facts were revealed including how the father of the children she looked after was probably her inspiration for Mr Rochester in her novel Jane Eyre. How fascinating that such a well known character in literacy could have been born out of our local heritage.
This led us to imagine, in great novelists’ fashion, just what might Charlotte Bronte have thought to Broughton Hall, had she ever stumbled across it one sunny morning as she walked through the 3000 acre grounds…
The family Charlotte worked for had a Newfoundland that maybe she’d have walked along with the children. Or possibly, as she was known to in fact dislike children, it accompanied her alone, with only her thoughts, on occasional strolls. As she searched the hilly Yorkshire moors for potential stories the dog may have wandered off in search of a play mate until he eventually met any one of Broughton Hall’s canines and joined them in their play digging up dirt in the formal gardens.
Charlotte, upon finding the dog, would have no doubt apologised to the Tempest family for his incorrigible behaviour to which they’d have laughed and, being the animal friendly historic house owners they were, kindly invited her in for Afternoon Tea; either in the Red Drawing Room or, if the day was still fine, the gloriously sun-filled conservatory.
Then, having discussed the writer’s remarkable talent and being also of the utmost hospitable nature, the Tempests may have invited her to stay overnight in their beautiful Yorkshire accommodation so as to avoid a long walk home through the dark parkland.
So many luxury bedrooms would await her but which would she have chosen? Perhaps cosy Oak, with its grand four-poster bed and rich wooden-panelled walls. Or maybe bright and airy Portico, with its spring-like elegance to remind her of the colourful flowers outside.
A great breakfast would greet her come morning, delivered with impeccable service by the Hall’s serving staff, as only the English know how. A Yorkshire feast before midday! Full and rested, Charlotte and the Newfoundland would have thanked their hosts and bid them farewell before departing the stunning Saloon and beginning on foot down the long, winding drive of the Estate.
Looking back over her shoulder, Miss Bronte couldn’t have been anything but impressed by the stately facade and remembering the generous welcome combined with exceptional food and wine, not the mention the opulent interior fit for royalty and incredibly comfortable rooms. She would have left thinking that Broughton Hall had felt like home, and that maybe she would write a book about it one day…
Today’s guests of Broughton Hall can enjoy both a private Guided Historic Tour of the Hall and a trip to the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth to fulfil their interest in our local history. In addition there are many other activities we can recommend both on and off the Broughton Estate to ensure their exclusive use stay is just as memorable as Charlotte’s would have been.