A Guide to Historic Haworth and the Brontes

A Guide to Historic Haworth and the Brontes

Mark Ward with Ann Dinsdale and Robert Swindells
Paperback 73pages. £3.99
Hendon Publishing Co Ltd. 2007
I.S.B.N: 978 0 860671 60 2

An entertaining and informative guide to Haworth and the surrounding moor, written as a series of four easy-to-follow walks. Intended as a companion for both the casual and the more discerning visitor, this delightful book should be of interest to all those who are aware but as yet unfamiliar with the colourful history of this high moorland village which inspired some of the greatest novels in the English language.

The writing is clear – the background to Grimshaw and the Evangelical Revival is masterfully encapsulated in three sentences – but the strength of the book is that it gives the background to what we can still see – once we’ve been told where to look!
…Not only is this an excellent and robust little guide for the visitor to Haworth today, but it also reminds us of the Haworth that has passed, the Haworth the Brontёs knew, from Brandy Row and the horse fairs on Penistone Slack, to the then-busier moors and the treacherous bogs, the Isolation Hospital at Upper Heights Farm, and the packhorse trails.
This is an excellent little gem for the visitor.
Bronte Society Transactions

Review.

A Guide to Historic Haworth & the Brontës,
by Mark Ward with Ann Dinsdale and Robert Swindells

In response to the need for a popular guide to Haworth, local poet and tour guide Mark Ward, Brontë Parsonage Museum librarian, Ann Dinsdale, and award-winning children’s writer Robert Swindells, have combined to produce this handy guide to Haworth and its most famous inhabitants. The book is structured around four walks: one long (7 miles: Top Withens, circular) and three short (1 ¼ miles: Penistone Hill; ¾ mile: Parsonage, Church and Village Top; and 500 metres!) Within each walk we are introduced to a rich mixture of Haworth history. The Brontës have a prominent place of course, and have an additional chapter by librarian Dinsdale on The Brontës of Haworth, but Haworth’s history neither stopped nor started with the Brontës. Thus in the Penistone stone quarries we learn about the ancient sea beds of the Carboniferous period which gave rise to a prosperous local quarry industry; on our moorland walk we learn about the changing patterns of farming and how the appearance of the moors has changed over time; we learn about the mills, the Luddites, and something about the lives of those who are buried in the churchyard. In Bob Swindells’s tongue-in-cheek 500 metre walk, we learn of the feature film cowboy Tom Mix and aviator Amy Johnson.

The writing is clear – the background to Grimshaw and the Evangelical Revival is masterfully encapsulated in three sentences – but the strength of the book is that it gives the background to what we can still see – once we have been told where to look! The times I’ve walked, unknowingly, over Tom Mix’s flagstone, passed the air shafts of underground passages near Dimples Lane, and under the Celtic head in North Street! Not only is this an excellent and robust little guide for the visitor to Haworth today, but it also reminds us of the Haworth that has passed, the Haworth that the Brontës knew, from Brandy Row and the horse fairs on Penistone Slack, to the then-busier moors, and the treacherous bogs, the Isolation Hospital at Upper Heights Farm, and the packhorse trails.

The work concludes with a list of Places to Stay. This is an excellent little gem for the visitor.
RD, Brontë Society Transactions, The Journal of Brontë Studies

 

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