Patrick Brontë Biography
(1777-1861)Patrick Brontë was born at Emdale, Drumballyroney, County Down, Ireland, the eldest of 10 children. He was apprenticed to a blacksmith and then to a linen weaver, but by sixteen, he was Master of the village school. At first self-educated, he was later helped by local clergymen, Revs. Andrew Harshaw and Thomas Tighe. In October 1802 Patrick Brontë, aged 25, registered as a student at St John's College Cambridge. He corrected the spelling of his name from Brunty to Brontë. It is not known for certain why he did this, he may have wished to hide his humble origins. Why Brontë? He would have been familiar with classical Greek and may have chosen the name after the Greek mythological god "Bronte" which translates as "thunder". Another theory is that in 1799 King Ferdinand of Naples bestowed the honour of Duke of Bronte in Sicily to Lord Nelson for fighting off the French Navy. Patrick may have taken the name as respect of Lord Nelson. His time at college, although financially difficult , was successful, and as a scholar he was always in the top group academically. He graduated in April 1806 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and then paid a visit to his family in Northern Ireland. He returned to England and never visited Ireland again.
He was ordained into the Church of England in 1807 and tookup a number of curacies. On 29th December 1812 Patrick Bronte
married Maria Branwell at Guiseley Church. In 1814, their first daughter, Maria, was born and then in 1815 their second daughter Elizabeth was born. In 1815 he was appointed curate at Thornton in Bradford. His three Daughters; Charlotte (1816), Emily (1818), Anne (1820) and his only son Branwell (1817) were all born there. In 1820 Patrick was appointed perpetual curate of Haworth, shortly after in January 1821 his wife Maria died of cancer. Maria's sister Elizabeth moved from Penzance to help Patrick out.
Patrick found the strain of bringing up a family difficult and decided to send Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte and Emily to the recently opened Clergy Daughters' School at Cowan Bridge. The harsh regime, cold and poor food took their toll on the children who were eventually taken away, however Maria and Elizabeth died soon after returning to Haworth.
Over the next years Mr. Brontë stayed mainly in his study reading up on the latest politics, studying for his Sunday sermons, and teaching his children.
In 1847 Patrick campaigned strongly for improved education in the district and in 1849 for improvements in the water supply. A change in education and bad sanitation for local people was seen in his lifetime.
He saw his children grow up, and all at one point in time left him to pursue work or higher education. Then in late 1848 through May of 1849 hew saw three of his children placed in the vault beneath the church. Fourtanately before his last child, Charlotte, took her final reating place, she married a faithful and kind man, Arthur Bell Nicholls, who took care of Mr Brontë until his death in 1961.
On 30 October 1859 Patrick Bronte preached his last sermon from the pulpit of Haworth Church. On the 7th June 1861 he died aged 84. On the 12th June he was laid to rest in the family vault at Haworth church. He had lived and preached in the parish of Haworth for 41 years, outliving all his children.