|Frances Mary Richardson Currer. |
Portrait by John James Masquerier (1807)
Private Collection. (Source)
Gargrave Heritage Group has been awarded £8,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.The connection with the Wilson family comes through Frances Mary Richardson Currer (1785-1861), daughter of Margaret Clive Wilson and the Rev. Henry Richardson Currer who was born at Eshton Hall in 1785.
The grant – from its Sharing Heritage pot - will be used to stage an exhibition in the village’s St Andrew’s Church.
It will explore tales of old Gargrave through the stories of the people who lived and worked in the village.
The exhibition – which will take place on Saturday, November 1 – will include information on the links between the Brontë sisters and the Wilson family in Gargrave and stories of men from Gargrave who went to fight in World War One and never returned.
There will also be a website and archive covering photographic and documentary records of Gargrave. (Lindsay Moore in Craven Herald)
According to Robert and Louise Barnard's A Brontë Encylopedia she was a
rich book-collector, heiress to the Richardson family, whose charities and generosity to her tenants were well known. Her library ws famous, and in 1830 she loaned paintings to the Northern Society for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts Exhibition, in Leeds, including Veronese, Rembrandt, and Poussin.In November 27, 1821, after the death of his wife, Patrick Brontë wrote to the Rev John Buckworth saying
I received on one day, quite unexpectedly, from a few wealthy friends in B[radford] not less than one hundred and fifty pounds! I received also several pounds from my old and very kind friend at B[radford], fifty pounds as a donation from th Society in London; and what is perhaps not less wonderful than all, a few days ago, I got a letter containing a bank post bill of the value of fifty pounds which was sent to me by a benevolent individual, a wealthy lady, in the West Riding of Yorkshire.Juliet Barker in The Brontës (and many other biographers) think that this wealthy lady was no other that Miss Currer of Eshton Hall. She was also the patron of Bierley Chapel, Bradford, William Morgan's (Patrick's fellow curate at Wellington and good friend of the family) previous living). She was also one of the patrons of the Cowan Bridge School and one of the most probable sources of Charlotte's choosing Currer as her pen name.