Charlotte Brontë: I thought I might share some facts on Charlotte as part of her bicentenary celebrations.

The name Brontë:

The Rev Patrick Brontë , father of the Brontë authors was born Patrick Prunty, into a family of ten children, in Co. Down in Ireland. Although the family were peasant farmers Patrick showed an early interest in Greek and Latin classics and came to the attention of a local Methodist, the Rev Mr Tighe.

Mr Tighe sent Patrick to St John’s College, Cambridge in 1802. While there, in the company of such illustrious characters as Lord Palmerston, the future Prime Minister, Patrick decided to change his name from the rather Irish, peasant sounding Prunty to Brontë.

The choice of Brontë may have been because it meant ‘thunder’ in Greek, and the ambitious Patrick was determined to make himself be heard in some capacity, or it may have been in honour of the fearless, Admiral Lord Nelson, who was Duke of Bronti.

Lyndall Gordon, in her biography, Charlotte Brontë: A Passionate Life, believes it was the latter, as Patrick liked to identify with ‘…fearless fighters…’[1] an attribute emulated by Charlotte in her juvenilia.

[1] Lyndall Gordon, Charlotte Brontë: A Passionate Life (London: Vintage, 1995).

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