A  Chronology of Anne Brontë
1820 1821 1824 1825 1828 1829 1831 1832 1833 1834 1835 1836
1837 1838 1839 1840 1841 1842 1843 1844 1845 1846 1847 1848
1849 1850 1852 1854 1855 1857 1861 1893 1897 1928    
 
1820  January 17 Anne born in Thornton, near Bradford, Yorkshire. The last of six children born to the Rev. Patrick and Maria Brontë (The Brontë siblings in order of birth: Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, Anne).
1820  March 25 Anne baptised in the 'Old Bell Chapel' at Thornton by the family's friend the Reverend William Morgan. Two other family friends, Elizabeth Firth and Fanny Outhwaite become Anne's godmothers.  
1820  mid-April The Brontë family move into the Parsonage at Haworth.  
1821  January 29 Maria Brontë (Anne's mother) suddenly becomes seriously ill. She is later diagnosed as suffering from cancer.
1821  May Elizabeth Branwell ('Aunt Branwell') arrives in Haworth to nurse her dying sister, Maria, and care for the family. Subsequently, she spends the rest of her life there raising the Brontë children.  
1821  September 15 Anne's mother, Maria Brontë, dies of cancer (believed to be of the uterus), aged 38: buried in a vault beneath Haworth church. This ultimately becomes the Brontë family vault.  
1824  late The 54 year old Tabitha Aykroyd ("Tabby") employed as servant at the Parsonage. She is to take over from Nancy and Sarah Garrs, both of whom have worked for the Brontës since the Thornton days, but have recently left.
1825  May 6 Anne's eldest sister, Maria, dies of consumption (tuberculosis) (aged 11), having been sent home ill from Cowan Bridge School on February 14: buried in the family vault beneath Haworth church.
1825  June 15 Anne's sister, Elizabeth, dies of consumption (aged 10), having left Cowan Bridge School ill on May 31: buried in the family vault beneath Haworth church.  
1828  August 29 Anne's earliest extant drawing - shows a church surrounded by trees.
1829 - 1830 The Brontë children receive art lessons from John Bradley of Keighley.
1831  January 17 Charlotte goes, as a pupil, to Margaret Wooler's school at Roe Head, Mirfield, near Dewsbury (approx.18 miles south-east of Haworth). While there, meets fellow pupils Mary Taylor and Ellen Nussey who subsequently become her life-long friends.
1831 Around this time, the eleven year old Anne, and twelve/thirteen year old Emily break away from Charlotte and Branwell in the creation and development of Angria (a fictional world founded by the Brontë children), and establish their own fantasy world of Gondal.  
1832  May Charlotte leaves Roe Head School: returns to Haworth to teach her sisters.
1833  July Ellen Nussey pays her first visit to the Haworth Parsonage: is liked by, and becomes good friends with the entire Brontë family. Towards the end of her two week stay, the children club together their pocket money to secure a trip to Bolton Abbey.
1834 Throughout this year, Anne, Emily and Branwell, have piano lessons at the Parsonage from Abraham Sunderland, the Keighley parish organist. They practice on a cottage piano that Patrick has purchased earlier in the year for this purpose (this piano is now on display in the Brontë Parsonage Museum).
1834  November 24 (Monday) Emily and Anne write their first extant diary paper. It is jointly produced, though written mostly in Emily's hand, and includes the earliest mention of Gondal. (see 'The Anne and Emily Diaries' - accessed from 'Main Page'.)  
1835  July 29 Charlotte leaves Haworth to become a teacher at Roe Head School. Emily accompanies her as a pupil.
1835  late-October After Emily has become ill due to acute home-sickness, she returns to Haworth, and is replaced at Roe Head School by Anne.  
1836  December 14 Anne is presented with a 'good conduct' prize at Roe Head School.
1836  December Anne's earliest extant poem. A 'Gondal' poem titled 'Verses By Lady Geralda', and written at Haworth during her Christmas holidays from Roe Head.  
1837  June 26 (Monday evening) Emily and Anne write their second extant diary paper. Like the first, it is jointly produced, though written mostly in Emily's hand. Anne would be taking her summer holidays from Roe Head School at this time. (see 'The Anne and Emily Diaries'.)
1837  Nov/Dec Anne suffers a life-threatening illness (at Roe Head). At the same time, she also undergoes a religious crisis, and, at her request, is visited, several times, by the Moravian minister, James La Trobe.  
1837  December Anne leaves Roe Head School due to the seriousness of her illness.  
1838  May Branwell sets up his own portrait studio in Bradford, lodging with Mr. and Mrs. Kirby.
1838  September Emily becomes a teacher at Miss Patchett's school at Law Hill (near Halifax - approx.15 miles south of Haworth).  
1838  December Charlotte leaves Miss Wooler's school for good (formerly at Roe Head, but the school has since moved, approximately three miles, to Healds House at Dewsbury Moor - near Dewsbury).  
1839  March Emily abandons her post at Law Hill, and returns to Haworth. Charlotte had described Emily's duties at Law Hill as 'hard labour from six in the morning to eleven at night' and 'slavery'. This daunting regime, coupled with Emily's acute home-sickness led to her health breaking down - just as it had done at Roe Head four years earlier.
1839  April 8 Anne (now aged 19) moves into Blake Hall, Mirfield (approx. 20 miles south-east of Haworth), to commence her first employment as a governess with the Ingham family.  
1839  mid-May Branwell abandons his portrait studio in Bradford after running into debt: he returns to Haworth.  
1839  May Charlotte goes as temporary governess to the Sidgwick family at Stonegappe (near Skipton - approx. 8 miles north of Haworth).  
1839  July 19 Charlotte leaves Stonegappe and returns to Haworth.  
1839  August William Weightman arrives in Haworth to become assistant curate to Patrick Brontë.  
1839  September Charlotte takes a holiday with Ellen Nussey. They spend three weeks at Easton, then one week at the nearby seaside resort of Bridlington (then sometimes referred to as Burlington).  
1839  December Anne leaves her governess post with the Inghams, and returns to Haworth. (The reason for her leaving is not known; however, while there, she experienced great difficulty in controlling and educating the undisciplined and 'monstrous' children: for this reason it is generally assumed that she was dismissed: indeed, Anne herself implies this in her later novel, Agnes Grey.)  
1839  December 31 Branwell leaves home to begin his new employment as tutor to the two Postlethwaite boys at Broughton-in-Furness (Lake District - approx. 85 miles north-west of Haworth).  
1840  early Throughout the early part of this year Anne has much contact with William Weightman. It is during this period she is reputed to have fallen in love with him; however, there is no evidence to show that any relationship between them occurred.
1840 Martha Brown comes to live at the Parsonage, gradually replacing Tabby as servant.  
1840  May 8 Anne goes as governess to the Robinsons at Thorp Green Hall, Little Ouseburn, near York (approx. 40 miles north-east of Haworth).  
1840  June Branwell is dismissed by the Postlethwaites: he returns to Haworth. The reason for his dismissal is somewhat obscure: some stories tell that he made one of their servant girls pregnant. Even if this is correct, the fate of the baby is unknown: some information sources suggest that it died. There has even been a case, recently, of someone claiming to be a descendant of Branwell.  
1840  July (For most of July, and possibly into the first week of August) Anne accompanies the Robinsons on their annual holiday to Scarborough. This is her first visit to the resort. They stay at the prestigious Wood's Lodgings on St. Nicholas Cliff, which sits at the centre of the bay, and boasts spectacular views of the castle and South Bay. On July 25, she produces her only extant drawing believed to have been created while she was at Scarborough (the drawing is titled 'What You Please' - see 'The Art of Anne Brontë' - from 'Main Page'). (This 'first' [1840] visit has not been fully confirmed.)  
1840  August 31 Branwell employed as Assistant Clerk at Sowerby Bridge railway station (approx.15 miles south of Haworth).  
1841  March Charlotte goes as governess to the Whites of Upperwood House, Rawdon, near Bradford (approx. 14 miles east of Haworth).
1841  April 1 Branwell transferred to Luddenden Foot as Clerk in Charge of the station (a few miles north-west of Sowerby Bridge).  
1841  June 5 Branwell has some of his poems published in the Halifax Guardian, making him the first of the Brontë siblings to achieve publication.  
1841  June/July Charlotte, Emily and Anne begin discussing, in earnest, plans to start a school of their own, having toyed with the idea for several years.  
1841  June 29 (Until August 3 - dates approx.) Anne spends about five weeks at Scarborough with the Robinsons, staying, once again, in Wood's Lodgings. While there, on July 30, she writes her 'four-yearly' diary paper. On the same day, Emily writes her corresponding one at home - in Haworth (see 'The Anne and Emily Diaries').  
1841  December Charlotte leaves her post as governess to the White family, and returns to Haworth.  
1842  January When returning home for her Christmas holidays, Anne informs the Robinsons that she wishes to terminate her employment with them. She wants to stay at home, taking the place of Emily, who will soon be leaving, with Charlotte, to attend a school in Brussels. However, Anne has made herself so indispensable at Thorp Green that the Robinsons plead with her to return, which she ultimately decides to do.
1842  February 15 Charlotte and Emily arrive at the Pensionnat Heger School in Brussels. En route, they had a short stay in London, lodging at the 'Chapter Coffee House' on Paternoster Row (behind St. Paul's Cathedral).  
1842  March 31 Branwell is dismissed by the railways. His understudy is caught 'fiddling' the books, and, as Clerk in Charge, Branwell is held responsible.  
1842  July 4 (Until August 15 - dates approx.) Anne spends around six weeks at Scarborough with the Robinsons - staying at No: 15, The Cliff (Wood's Lodgings). Her former employers, the Inghams, are also in residence at Wood's Lodgings.  
1842  September 6 After a short illness William Weightman, at the age of 28, dies of cholera: he is buried beneath the floor of Haworth church.  
1842  October 29 Aunt (Elizabeth) Branwell (who raised the Brontë children) dies, aged 66. Leaves £350 legacy for each of her nieces. The cause of death was 'an internal obstruction of her bowel', which reduced her 'to helpless agony'.  
1842  November 3 Anne returns to Haworth for her aunt's funeral.  
1842  November 8 Charlotte and Emily return from Brussels due to 'Aunt Branwell's' death.  
1842  November 29 Anne returns to Thorp Green Hall.  
1843  January Following her Christmas holidays, Anne takes Branwell back with her to Thorp Green Hall having obtained him a post - taking over from her as tutor to the now eleven years old Edmund Robinson (jnr.).
1843  January 27 Charlotte returns to Brussels as both pupil and teacher. Emily remains at home.  
1843  March While attending York to give evidence in a forgery case, Patrick Brontë visits Anne and Branwell at Thorp Green. Spends several days there (there is some conflicting information on this latter point).  
1843  June The Robinson girls (Anne's charges at Thorp Green) give Anne a black-white-and-tan spaniel dog as a gift. She names it Flossy, and brings it home to Haworth when taking her summer holidays. (This dog ultimately outlives Anne by many years.)  
1843  July 3 (Until July 31 - dates approx.) Anne spends about four weeks at No: 14, The Cliff (Wood's Lodgings), Scarborough, with the Robinsons. Branwell is also present (his first visit).  
1844  January 1 Charlotte leaves Brussels for good, and returns to Haworth.
1844  January 23 In a letter to Ellen Nussey, Charlotte remarks, with 'a tinge of envy', that Anne and Branwell are 'wondrously valued' in their situations at Thorp Green.  
1844  July 8 (Until August 12 - dates approx.) Anne spends around five weeks at No: 7, The Cliff (Wood's Lodgings), Scarborough, with the Robinsons (Branwell is also present). While there, on August 2, writes her poem 'Fluctuations' (see 'The Poems of Anne Brontë' - from 'Main Page').  
1844  July Charlotte has prospectus cards printed and distributed, advertising 'The Misses Brontës' Establishment' - the sisters' own school, which is to be situated at the Haworth Parsonage.  
1844  November The Brontës' own school plan is abandoned after they fail to attract any pupils due to the remoteness of Haworth.  
1845 Sometime this year Anne begins work on a piece of prose which she titles Passages in the Life of an Individual. In her diary paper of July 31, she declares 'I have begun the third volume of Passages in the Life of an Individual, I wish I had finished it.' Many biographers believe this was the foundation of her first novel, Agnes Grey. (Some suggest that Agnes Grey actually began several years earlier with a collection of auto-biographical material she wrote under the Gondal guise of 'Solala Vernon's Life'.)
1845  May Arthur Bell Nicholls arrives in Haworth after being appointed assistant curate to Patrick Brontë.  
1845  June Anne resigns her post at Thorp Green believing her work there to be complete: it may also have something to do with the fact that she has become aware of Branwell's 'secret' affair with their employer's wife, Lydia Robinson.  
1845  June 30 Anne and Emily make their 'first long journey' together. The original plan was to visit Scarborough, but they settle for a few days in York.  
1845  July Branwell is dismissed from Thorp Green Hall after his affair with Mrs. Robinson is discovered by her husband (Branwell's employer). Edmund Robinson (snr.) later declares 'that he had discovered his [Branwell's] proceedings which he characterised as bad beyond expression and charging him on pain of exposure to break off instantly and forever all communication with every member of his family.'  
1845  July 31 (Thursday) Emily and Anne each write their four-yearly diary papers. They indicate that their next diaries will be written in three years time - on July 30 1848; however, no such diaries are known to exist. (See 'The Anne and Emily Diaries').  
1845  September Charlotte discovers one of Emily's poetry notebooks, and suggests her poems merit publication: Emily is furious; however, this incident ultimately leads to the compilation of a set of the three sisters' poems.  
1846  February 6 Charlotte sends manuscripts of poems to the publishers Aylott & Jones in London, and declares them to be the work of the three 'Bell' brothers (their chosen pseudonyms - or 'pen names' - Charlotte = Currer Bell, Emily = Ellis Bell, and Anne = Acton Bell).
1846  May Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell published - at the sisters' expense.  
1846  May (Approx. - exact date not known) Anne completes her first novel, Agnes Grey.  
1847  July Emily's Wuthering Heights, and Anne's Agnes Grey accepted for publication by Thomas Cautley Newby in London: Charlotte's The Professor is rejected.
1847  July Around this time Anne began writing her second novel - The Tenant of Wildfell Hall: the exact date is not known: perhaps it was in July - with Anne being so motivated by the acceptance of Agnes Grey for publication. Others believe she began working on it several months earlier.  
1847  October Charlotte's Jane Eyre published to instant acclaim. (Published by Smith, Elder & Co. - London).  
1847  December Anne's first novel, Agnes Grey, is published jointly with Emily's Wuthering Heights, after their publisher, Thomas Newby, is urged on by the success of Jane Eyre.  
1848  May (approx) Anne completes her second novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. It ultimately becomes regarded as Anne's answer to Wuthering Heights, which out-shone her first novel, Agnes Grey.
1848  June (end) Anne's second novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall published to instant success. (published by Thomas Cautley Newby, London). It rapidly out-sells Wuthering Heights.  
1848  July Anne's publisher, Thomas Newby, causes a stir by supporting the critics' suspicions, and intimating that 'Wildfell Hall' is the product of the same author who wrote Jane Eyre. Despite being distinctly told otherwise, he informs one American publisher that to the best of his knowledge, all the 'Bell' novels are the work of one writer.  
1848  July 7 Anne and Charlotte travel to London to visit their publishers in order to prove there is more than one "Bell" author. They stay at the 'Chapter Coffee House' on Paternoster Row (behind St. Paul's Cathedral), and return to Haworth on 11 July, after being entertained, over their four-day period in London, by Charlotte's publisher George Smith.  
1848  July 22 Anne completes her now famous preface to the second edition of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, having spent 9 days on its composition.  
1848  mid-August The second edition of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (complete with 'preface') published just 6 weeks after the first.  
1848  September 24 After a long period of decline, Anne's brother, Branwell, dies of chronic bronchitis/consumption, aged 31.  
1848  September 28 Branwell's funeral. He is buried in the family vault beneath Haworth church.  
1848  December 19 Anne's sister, Emily, dies of consumption, aged 30, after 2 months decline. (Excepting the day she died, she constantly refused to accept any medical treatment.)  
1848  December 22 Emily's funeral. She is buried in the family vault beneath Haworth church.  
1848  December Following the failure of 'Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell', Anne alone begins 'enjoying a quiet success with her poems'. Both the Leeds Intelligencer, and Fraser's Magazine, publish her poem 'The Narrow Way' under her pseudonym, Acton Bell. Four months earlier, in August, Fraser's Magazine had also published her poem 'The Three Guides'.  
1849  January 5 Following a period of illness since early December, Anne is examined at the Parsonage by Dr. Teale: he reports she has consumption, and intimates she may not have long to live.
1849  April Anne makes arrangements to go to Scarborough in an attempt to effect a recovery from consumption. She plans on using the £200 legacy left her by her godmother, Fanny Outhwaite; and writes (letter of April 5), asking her friend, Ellen Nussey, if she will accompany her to the resort.  
1849  May 1 Charlotte warns Ellen not to be shocked on seeing Anne when they go to Scarborough. She reports: 'She is very much emaciated, -- far more than when you were with us; her arms are no thicker than a little child's. The least exertion brings a shortness of breath. She goes out a little every day, but we creep rather than walk'.  
1849  May 24 (Thursday) Anne sets off, accompanied by Charlotte and Ellen Nussey, on, what turns out to be, her final trip to Scarborough. En route, they spend a day and a night in York; where they do some shopping, and at Anne's request, visit York Minster.  
1849  May 25 (Friday) In the early afternoon, Anne, Charlotte and Ellen arrive, by train, in Scarborough. They treat themselves to Dandelion Coffee and buy season tickets allowing unlimited access to the Spa and Cliff Bridge (now the Spa Bridge).  
1849  May 26 (Saturday) In the morning, at her own insistence, Anne attends the nearby swimming baths alone, but collapses with exhaustion outside her lodgings on her return. In the afternoon she drives herself, for one hour, in a donkey cart on the South Sands.
1849  May 27 (Sunday) In the afternoon, Anne chaperones Charlotte and Ellen along the Cliff Bridge (now the Spa Bridge). Later, overcome with exhaustion, she sits on a seat near the beach while her companions walk further. By the evening she realises there is no hope left and that she has not long to live: she discusses with Charlotte the propriety of returning to Haworth.  
1849  May 28 (Whit Monday) At around two o'clock in the afternoon, in Wood's Lodgings, Scarborough, Anne dies of consumption: she is aged 29.  
1849  May 30 (Wednesday) Anne's funeral is conducted at Christ Church, Vernon Place (now Vernon Road): she is buried beneath the castle walls in St. Mary's Churchyard, Scarborough.  
1849  May 31 (Thursday) Charlotte and Ellen visit Scarborough castle; passing, en route, the 'venerable old church' (St. Mary's) and Anne's grave, and climbing the 'Castle Hill' that Anne had described in her novel, Agnes Grey.  
1849  June 6 (or 7) Charlotte and Ellen move down the coast to spend a period of around 10 days in Filey, before moving on to Bridlington for a few more days. Charlotte returns to Haworth on 20 June.  
1850  December 10 Charlotte's 'edited' edition of Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey, complete with her 'Biographical Notice' about her sisters, is published (it also includes a selection of Anne and Emily's previously unpublished poems - again, heavily edited by Challotte). She makes it known to her publishers that she does not want Anne's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall to be re-published. They respect her wishes.
1852  June 4 Charlotte pays her first and only visit to Anne's grave since the funeral. She discovers five errors on the gravestone and orders it to be re-faced. It still carries one error today - stating Anne died age 28.
1854  June 29 Charlotte marries her father's curate, Arthur Bell Nicholls. They spend their honeymoon in Ireland.
1855  March 31 Charlotte dies in the early stages of pregnancy. Her death is believed to have been caused by dehydration resulting from excessive vomiting - the medical term is 'Hyperemesis Gravidarun'. She was aged 38.
1855  April 4 Charlotte's funeral. She is buried in the family vault beneath Haworth church.  
1857  March 25 The first of many Brontë biographies is born. Charlotte's friend and author, Mrs. Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, publishes The Life of Charlotte Brontë.
1861  June 7 Anne's father, Patrick Brontë, dies aged 84, having outlived his entire family: he is buried in the family vault beneath Haworth church.
1893  December 16 The Brontë Society founded at a meeting in Bradford Town Hall.
1897  November 26 Ellen Nussey, the Brontë sisters' life long friend, dies, aged 80.
1928  August 4 Haworth Parsonage presented to the Brontë Society, and becomes the 'Brontë Parsonage Museum'.
 
N.B: The dates of the periods Anne spent at Scarborough with the Robinsons (1840 - 1844) are generally only known from the records presented in contemporary editions of the Scarborough Herald. This newspaper listed all visitors to the resort on a weekly basis. The dates I have given above are mid-week - between the dates she is listed as being present, and the adjacent week, when she is not. In other words, these dates should be accurate to within about four days.138n

Copyright © 1999 Michael Armitage


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