Bronte School House

» A place in literary history

A place in literary history

Brontë School House has a fascinating heritage enjoying a unique position in literary history.

The original house was constructed as a dwelling in 1770 for a gentleman named Christopher Picard.  But in 1824 it was purchased and extended by a wealthy evangelical clergyman and landowner named William Carus Wilson. It was he who established the Clergy Daughters’ School (later to achieve notoriety as “Lowood” in Jane Eyre) to provide education, at a very low fee, to the daughters of poorly paid clergy, clergy such as Patrick Bronte. Patrick jumped at the chance to be able to provide his daughters with a formal education and sent first Maria and Elizabeth (in July 1824), followed by Charlotte (in August 1824), and then Emily (in November 1824) to the school.

Clergy Daughters School










In spring 1825 Maria fell ill and was taken home to Haworth, followed a little later by Elizabeth. Both Maria and Elizabeth died shortly afterwards from consumption. In summer 1825 Charlotte and Emily were also taken out of the school. The younger Ann never attended Cowan Bridge. In 1833 the school was moved to Casterton.

Charlotte Brontë 1816-1855

Portrait of Emily Bronte by her brother Branwell Bronte

Emily Brontë 1818-1848












Charlotte (under the pseudonym of Currer Bell)  wrote Jane Eyre, her first published novel, in which she used the Clergy Daughters School as the model for the infamous “Lowood”. Her next published novel was Shirley, followed by Villette. The Professor, Charlotte’s  first novel, was originally rejected by the publishers and was only actually published following her death.

Emily (under the pseudonym of Ellis Bell) wrote Wuthering Heights.

Anne (under the pseudonym of Acton Bell) wrote The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, and Agnes Grey.

For more information see the Bronte Society website: