Jane Eyre and 'I' | Bronte Parsonage Museum - Bronte Parsonage Museum: We've just released a final batch of tickets to see Tracy Chevalier & Maggie O'Farrell speak in Haworth on Friday 4 November. The...
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Western Winds: The Brontës' Irish HeritageThe Irish family background of the Brontës has known a modest revival in the last decades. It is certainly true that more research has been carried out in the last quarter of the century than in almost all the previous history of Brontë research. Edward Chitham was, in a way, one of the instigators of the reassessment of Patrick Brontë's Irish family and social background with his 1986 The Brontës Irish Background. Several other biographers and scholars have extended his work not only in the purely historian task of checking first sources and period information but also through the internal logic of the poetry and novels of the Brontës, particularly Emily Brontë(1). Nevertheless, his partial vindication of the much maligned work by William Wright(2) was not entirely successful with and assumed by all Brontë scholars: Juliet Barker described his work as 'misguided' and 'unconvincing' in The Brontës (1994)(3).
The History Press
4 May 2015
Interest is again being expressed in the Brontës’ Irish background. A number of points can be added to the research detailed in The Brontës’ Irish Background of 1986 and K. Constable’s A Stranger within the Gates in 2000. An important factor is the definite date now available for Hugh Brunty’s birth. Further to this, new light has been shed on the demography of County Fermanagh by the publication of the Ordnance Survey Memoirs inAlthough the painstaking attention to detail that Chitham uses to expose and trace the possible, plausible and speculative sources of Wright's claims, we don't think this new volume accomplishes more than the previous attempts by the author and others, in order to convince the sceptics. The sources and clues are still vague and compelling as many of them may be in Chitham's words, they're mainly circumstantial evidence. An example is the tracing of the bilingual Irish scribe and poet, Pádraig Ó Prontaigh as the plausible father of Hugh Brunty (the father of Patrick Brontë). This old suggestion(4) is substantiated with plenty of coherent details but with no conclusive proof.
the 1990s and by more accessible copies of the Irish ‘Tithe Applotment’ and Griffith’s ‘Valuation’ on the Internet. This article brings some of this new material forward as a contribution to the understanding of the Brontës’ family heritage.
I translated this from a manuscript in my possession made by one Patrick O'Prunty (an ancestor probably of Charlotte Bronte) in 1763.