Guest author: Robbie Cheadle ~ Charlotte Brontë

Background

Charlotte was the third and middle daughter born to Patrick and Maria Branwell Brontë. She had two older sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, who both died as children from tuberculosis, and two younger sisters, Emily and Anne. She also had a younger brother, Branwell. Subsequent to their mother’s death from uterine cancer, Charlotte and her young siblings were brought up in Haworth, Yorkshire, by their father, Patrick, and their aunt, Elizabeth Branwell.

Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte and Emily all attended Clergy Daughters’ School at Cowan Bridge in Lancashire during 1824. The fees were low, the food of a poor quality and the discipline harsh and often unfair. It was reported that the food provided by the school was generally poorly cooked and unhealthy, and the cook was “careless, dirty, and wasteful”.

Lowood Institution, the school which features in Charlotte’s famous novel, Jane Eyre, is said to have been based on Charlotte’s recollections of Cowan Bridge School.

Maria and Elizabeth both sickened during their time spent at this school and were effectively sent home to die in June 1825.  They died within six weeks of each other at the ages of eleven and ten years old, respectively. After the deaths of his two oldest children, Patrick removed Charlotte and Emily from the school and the remaining four siblings were all home schooled for five years.

In 1831, Charlotte attended Roe Head School in Mirfield, West Yorkshire, and this is where she met her lifelong friends, Ellen Nussey and Mary Taylor. Charlotte returned home a year later to teach her sisters, but she returned to the school as a teacher in 1835. Charlotte did not enjoy teaching and her health declined and she succumbed to depression during her time at Roe Head School. She eventually left her position at the school in 1838 and returned home.

During the period 1839 to 1841, Charlotte worked as a governess to families in Yorkshire. She did not enjoy this work either, claiming that her employers treated her as a slave and constantly humiliated her.

In February 1842, Charlotte and Emily attended a finishing school in Brussels in order to improve their qualifications in French and learn some German. Their goal, together with Anne, was to open their own boarding school. It was at this school that Charlotte met Constantin Héger, an unusually devoted teacher with a brilliant and unusual mind. Charlotte and Emily returned to Haworth after the death of their Aunt Branwell in October 1842, but Charlotte returned to Brussels on her own, in January 1843, to take up a teaching post at the school. Charlotte was homesick and became overly devoted to Constantin Héger, who is believed to have been the subject of her first book, The Professor, which was rejected by publishers and only published after her death. Constantin’s wife is said to have become jealous of her and Charlotte decided to return home to Haworth in January 1844.

During the course of 1844, the three Bronte sisters attempted to open a boarding school in their home. Their efforts did not attract any pupils and the project was abandoned in October.

In May 1846, Charlotte, Emily and Anne self-financed the publication of a joint collection of poems under the assumed names of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. They used these pseudonyms to veil their sex as female writers were regarded with disdain by Victorian society at that time. This book was not a success and they only sold two copies.

Despite the rejection by publishers of her book, The Professor, and the failure of the poetry book, Charlotte went on to write, and successfully publish, Jane Eyre in September 1847. In 1848, Charlotte started writing her second novel, Shirley. It was during the writing of this novel that she suffered the losses of her brother, Branwell, and both her sisters, Emily and Anne, all from respiratory diseases. Shirley was published in October 1849.

Charlotte’s last novel, Villette, was published in 1853, soon after her marriage to Arthur Bell Nicholls, her father’s curate. Charlotte became pregnant soon after her wedding and died, together with her unborn child, on 31 March 1855, at the age of thirty-nine. She is believed to have died from dehydration and malnourishment due to vomiting caused by severe morning sickness or hyperemesis gravidarum.

Interesting information about Charlotte and her siblings

Tiny books

The Bronte siblings used to produce tiny books which were no bigger than matchboxes and were packed with stories and advertisements written in tiny writing. They stitched the books together using printed scrap paper and leaves. These tiny manuscripts were produced through their teenage years and into their twenties. They found miniaturization to be amusing and suggestive and like the idea of being giants carrying around these tiny pieces of literature.

One of the surviving tiny books created by Charlotte Brontë

Tiny person

Charlotte was a very tiny person. Her estimated height was approximately four foot seven and her clothes that are displayed at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, including shoes, corsets, gloves and dresses, would fit a modern child. She was self-conscious about her height and her looks in general, thinking of herself as being very plain. Charlotte also rarely smiled because her teeth were bad and many of them were missing.

A dress Charlotte bought for her honeymoon

Charlotte wrote to her friend Ellen Nussey in October 1849, two years after Jane Eyre was published, saying: “I find I really must go to Mr Atkinson the dentist [in Leeds] and ask him if he can do anything for my teeth.”

Her bad teeth were one of the first things Elizabeth Gaskell noticed about Charlotte. In a letter after they first met, Gaskell gave a less than flattering description of her friend: “a reddish face, large mouth and many teeth gone; altogether plain.”

Charlotte’s boots


To find out more about the Brontë family, click HERE to read a review by Olga Nunez Miret of The Mother of the Brontës: When Maria Met Patrick by Sharon Wright (@penswordbooks) Highly recommended to Brontës fans and to early XIX century historians.

“They were from different lands, different classes, different worlds almost.

The chances of Cornish gentlewoman Maria Branwell even meeting the poor Irish curate Patrick Brontë in Regency England, let alone falling passionately in love, were remote.

Yet Maria and Patrick did meet, making a life together as devoted lovers and doting parents in the heartland of the industrial revolution.”


About the author

Robbie, short for Roberta, is an author with five published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with her son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about her mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with her mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton).

All of Robbie’s children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications. Robbie has recently branched into adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differentiate her children’s books from her adult writing, these will be published under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. Robbie has two short stories in the horror/supernatural genre included in Dark Visions, a collection of 34 short stories by 27 different authors and edited by award winning author, Dan Alatorre. These short stories are published under Robbie Cheadle.


Find and follow Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Roberta Writes Blog   Amazon Author Page    Twitter    Facebook


Books by Roberta Eaton Cheadle

NEVERGATE draft 1Through the Nethergate

Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Margaret, a girl born with second sight, has the unique ability to bring ghosts trapped between Heaven and Hell back to life. When her parents die suddenly, she goes to live with her beloved grandfather, but the cellar of her grandfather’s ancient inn is haunted by an evil spirit of its own. In the town of Bungay, a black dog wanders the streets, enslaving the ghosts of those who have died unnatural deaths. When Margaret arrives, these phantoms congregate at the inn, hoping she can free them from the clutches of Hugh Bigod, the 12th century ghost who has drawn them away from Heaven’s White Light in his canine guise. With the help of her grandfather and the spirits she has befriended, Margaret sets out to defeat Hugh Bigod, only to discover he wants to use her for his own ends – to take over Hell itself.

Purchase links

It is available from Lulu.com here: Lulu.com

It is also available from TSL Publications as a soft copy book here: TSL Publications


While the Bombs Fell

TSL Publications     Lulu

What was it like for children growing up in rural Suffolk during World War 2?

Elsie and her family live in a small double-storey cottage in Bungay, Suffolk. Every night she lies awake listening anxiously for the sound of the German bomber planes. Often they come and the air raid siren sounds signalling that the family must leave their beds and venture out to the air raid shelter in the garden.

Despite the war raging across the English channel, daily life continues with its highlights, such as Christmas and the traditional Boxing Day fox hunt, and its wary moments when Elsie learns the stories of Jack Frost and the ghostly and terrifying Black Shuck that haunts the coastline and countryside of East Anglia.

Includes some authentic World War 2 recipes.


Robbie also writes as Robbie  Cheadle

Robbie’s Inspiration Blog      Goodreads    Facebook    YouTube

Amazon author page   Twitter: @bakeandwrite


Books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

The Sir Chocolate books are a delightful marriage of story, verse and cookery

… a perfect recipe for sharing with children.  Silly Willy goes to Cape Town tells the adventures of two very different brothers…and includes five party cake ideas.

You can purchase the Sir Chocolate books from:

Amazon  Lulu.com    TSL Books

or you can buy them in South Africa directly from the authors by emailing Robbie Cheadle at sirchoc@outlook.com.


Tell me a story…

If you are a writer, artist or photographer…If you have a poem, story or memoirs to share… If you have a book to promote, a character to introduce, an exhibition or event to publicise… If you have advice for writers, artists or bloggers…

If you would like to be my guest, please read the guidelines and get in touch!

 

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
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45 Responses to Guest author: Robbie Cheadle ~ Charlotte Brontë

  1. Thank you for featuring this post about Charlotte Bronte today, Sue.

    Like

  2. Darlene says:

    A great article on Charlotte. It is so sad that they all died so young. But we continue ti enjoy their books to this day.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Mary Smith says:

    A great article from Robbie. I rather like that their poetry collection only sold two copies – doesn’t that give us all hope? 🙂 I also read Olga’s recent review of The Mother of the Brontes and Annika Perry has just blogged about the tiny books – seems we’re having a Bronte blogging festival 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. joylennick says:

    Thanks, Sue. “Jane Eyre” is my all-tIme favourite read. What a multi-faceted writer Robbie is!! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I always loved that one too x

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Joy, Jane Eyre is one of my all time favourite books. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

      • joylennick says:

        Hi Robbie, Congratulations, well done you! When we visited her home, I couldn’t get over how tiny Charlotte was, Those little boots and gloves… I read JE for the first time, age 13 and had just met my ‘best friend’ at college. When Jane’s friend at school died, I had a nightmare that MY friend had died and recall waking up sobbing,It was SO REALISTIC. (Although that BF now lives in Wales and I live in Spain, I still look on her as my best, early friend,) What next, eh, Robbie? I’m still struggling with my ‘Jewish’ story. Hopefully, I’ll remain on my perch long enough to finish it! Take care. Hugs xx

        Liked by 2 people

      • joylennick says:

        Hi Robbie, Congratulations, well done you! When we visited her home, I couldn’t get over how tiny Charlotte was, Those little boots and gloves… I read JE for the first time, age 13 and had just met my ‘best friend’ at college. When Jane’s friend at school died, I had a nightmare that MY friend had died and recall waking up sobbing,It was SO REALISTIC. (Although that BF now lives in Wales and I live in Spain, I still look on her as my best, early friend,) What next, eh, Robbie? I’m still struggling with my ‘Jewish’ story. Hopefully, I’ll remain on my perch long enough to finish it! Take care. Hugs xx

        Liked by 2 people

  5. This is the second post tonight I’ve read about the Bronte little books! Thanks for sharing this history of Charlotte and her family. I knew some of it, but I also learned a few things!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. memadtwo says:

    Life was harsh in that time and place. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It did seem to be particularly harsh time in the Victorian era.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Guest author: Robbie Cheadle – Charlotte Brontë – Roberta Writes

  9. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine and commented:
    For all Bronte sisters lovers, a special post by Robbie Cheadle on Sue Vincent’s blog. Charlotte Bronte authored the wonderful Jane Eyre, but the story of this author and her sister’s is far more tragic and compelling.. a wonderful insight into the lives of these amazing sisters and also of the times. #recommended

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Aren’t we marvelous, as writers. It is as though regardless of life’s other happenings, we are compelled to write. Brava on this series of posts. I am thoroughly enchanted.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I will always think of her teeth now when my mind wanders to Charlotte Bronte. Very interesting.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. bamauthor says:

    What a revealing article! It helps one to understand the passion in Charlotte’s work because so much of it was based on personal experience. Thanks so much for sharing with us.

    Liked by 2 people

    • My pleasure. I have always thought the passion in these three ladies novels was rather extraordinary, especially considering none of them were married at the time their books were published. Charlotte only married later. They were all very romantic and attributed almost supernatural abilities to their heroines.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: Guest author: Robbie Cheadle ~ Charlotte Brontë — Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo – Sarah's Attic Of Treasures

  14. dgkaye says:

    This was a fantastic glimpse into Charlotte’s life Robbie. I have similar booties I wear at home to keep my feet warm LOL 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  15. What an interesting post Robbie. Life sure was tough for Charlotte and her family. It is a wonder that she managed to carry on writing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think people at this time in history lived in close proximity to death. It wasn’t as separated from their lives as it is for us, they lived it all the time. It is very sad but they did seem to be able to move on from it. Patrick lived to 84 years old, so for quite a long time after Charlotte’s death.

      Liked by 2 people

  16. Jennie says:

    This was both fascinating and depressing. We forget that disease took far too many lives in those days. Loosing all your brothers and sisters, and dying when pregnant is tragic. Thank you, Robbie.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. I thoroughly enjoyed this article about Charlotte Bronte’s life and how it inspired and informed her work.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. olganm says:

    A fabulous post, Robbie, and thanks so much for mentioning my review. I know you had told me you were working on this post as well, and it’s very informative. Having visited the Parsonage a few times, I always loved the tiny books, and yes, her clothes are very tiny. I think they change them regularly, so the experience is different every time one visits. Their mother also lost several of her siblings as a child, even though Penzance had more facilities and was a much bigger place than Haworth, but infant death was very common at the time.
    A fantastic guest post. Thanks Robbie and Sue.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have received my copy of The Mother of the Brontes and am looking forward to reading it and finding out about her. Her tragic death from uterine cancer was very sad and a catastrophe for her children. Our trip to York was planned entirely around our visit to this museum as I have always wanted to visit it.

      Liked by 1 person

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