Charlotte Brontë
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Charlotte Brontë (1816 - 1855)

Charlotte Brontë
Born in Thornton, Yorkshire, England, United Kingdommap
Ancestors ancestors
Wife of — married 29 Jun 1854 in St Michael and All Angels, Haworth, Yorkshire, Englandmap
Died in Haworth, Yorkshire, England, United Kingdommap
Profile last modified | Created 16 Jul 2013 | Last significant change: 26 Apr 2021
04:36: Julie (Crofts) Rourke answered a question about Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855) [Thank Julie for this]
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Charlotte Brontë was a notable British author, best known for her novel Jane Eyre.[1]



Notables Project
Charlotte Brontë is Notable.
Charlotte Brontë has Irish ancestors.

Charlotte Brontë was born on 21 April 1816 in Thornton near Bradford in Yorkshire[2][3][4] and was christened on 29 April 1816.[3]She was the third of six children born to Rev. Patrick Brontë and Maria Branwell[3], and the eldest of the three famous Brontë sister authors.[5][6]

In August 1824, Rev. Brontë sent Charlotte, Emily, Maria, and Elizabeth to the Clergy Daughters' School at Cowan Bridge in Lancashire, where Maria and Elizabeth died of tuberculosis[5], which Charlotte blamed on the school's poor conditions.[2][5] Charlotte used that school as the basis for Lowood School in her novel, Jane Eyre.[2] Between 1831 and 1832, she continued her education at Roe Head in Mirfield, where she would return as a teacher from 1835 to 1838.[5][2] She worked as a governess between 1839 and 1841.[5][2]

Charlotte and Emily spent time in Brussels at a boarding school[5][2], but their time there was cut short when their surrogate caretaker following their mother's death when Charlotte was 5[5][2], their Aunt Elizabeth Branwell, died.[2] Charlotte returned home, but still yearned for Brussels as she had grown close to the boarding school's head, despite the affection being not being reciprocated.[5][2] Her stories Villette and The Professor are inspired by her time there.[1][2]

Charlotte and her friend, Ellen Nussey, are listed in her father, Rev. Patrick Bronte's household in the 1851 England census, as well as two servants.[7]

Charlotte was a small woman, under 5 feet tall, and wore eye glasses.[5] She considered herself plain.[5][8] Many of her contemporaries agreed with her, and even went so far to consider her "homely".[8] She had a strong-willed personality.[5][2]

Charlotte Brontë the Early Story

Literary Career

In May 1846, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne published a joint collection of poems under their pen names Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell.[5][6][2] The pseudonyms veiled the sisters' gender while preserving their initials.[1] Her first manuscript, The Professor, did not secure a publisher, but her second manuscript, Jane Eyre: An Autobiography, was published in 1847 and quickly became a bestseller.[6][2] In October 1849, Shirley was published while Charlotte dealt with the death of her sister, Anne, and in January 1853,[5] Villette was published.[6] The Professor was published posthumously in 1857.[5][6]

Marriage and Death

Charlotte married Arthur Bell Nicholls, her father's curate, on 29 June 1854[9] after turning down his previous proposals, and without her father's support until right before their marriage.[1][5]. They spent their honeymoon in Ireland.[1]

Charlotte would die less than a year later at the age of 38 with their unborn child on 31 March 1855.[1][5][6][4] Her death certificate lists the cause of death as tuberculosis, but some speculate her difficult pregnancy also contributed to her being dehydrated and malnourished.[10] There is also evidence that indicates typhus could have been a cause.[1] She is buried in the family crypt in the Church of St Michael and All Angels at Haworth, Yorkshire, England.[4]

Name Pronunciation

This individual's name is represented in IPA as /ˈʃɑːɹlət ˈbɹɒnti/. [1] Given the time period in which Brontë lived, combined with her having been raised by an Irish father, as well as it having been reported that a friend of Brontë's said she spoke with an Irish accent, [11] it seems a safe assumption that she would have pronounced her own name rhotically; the majority of Irish accents, to this day, are rhotic, as were most English accents in the region of her upbringing during Brontë's youth, meaning that the r in her given name should be pronounced. With regards to Brontë's surname, the terminal vowel, despite how it's written, should be pronounced as /i/, equivalent to the usual pronunciation of "ee" in English. Patrick Brontë, her father, is known to have created this alternative spelling of the family's surname, which was originally Brunty; his reasons for doing so remain unclear, & though various theories as to those reasons have been proposed, it is generally accepted that the pronunciation remained roughly the same, with Brontë being pronounced as "BRON-tee" rather than "BRON-tay." [12]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Wikipedia contributors, "Charlotte Brontë," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed March 23, 2017).
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 Gaskell, Elizabeth, Charlotte Bronte, London, accessed 23 Mar 2017.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch ( : 30 December 2014), Charlottë Bronte, 29 Jun 1816; citing THORNTON BY BRADFORD, YORK, ENGLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 990,544.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Find A Grave Memorial# 1708, for Charlotte Bronte
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 "Charlotte Brontë", The Brontë Society, Accessed 23 March 2017
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Cousin, John W., A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature, "Brontë, Charlotte", J.M. Dent and Sons, London. Accessed via Project Gutenberg 23 Mar 2017.
  7. "England and Wales Census, 1851," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 24 July 2016), Charlotte Bronte in household of Patrick Bronte, Bradford, Yorkshire,Yorkshire (West Riding), England; citing Bradford, Yorkshire,Yorkshire (West Riding), England, p. 1, from "1851 England, Scotland and Wales census," database and images, findmypast ( : n.d.); citing PRO HO 107, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Harmon, Clare, "To walk invisible", The Times Literary Supplement, 30 September 2015. Accessed 23 Mar 2017
  9. Marriage Certificate on, for Charlotte Bronte and Arthur Bell Nicholls
  10. Mapes, Diana, "Real life plot twists of famous authors", via, 25 September 2007. Accessed 23 Mar 2017.
  11. Holland, Nick. “Just What Did Anne Bronte Sound Like?” Anne Brontë, 16 Apr. 2017,
  12. Wikipedia Contributors. “Brontë Family.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 7 Feb. 2019,

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Comments: 4

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I'm curious as to why the dates in the bio don't follow Data Entry Genealogy standards of day/month/year ?

posted by David Urquhart
Thank you for noticing. They have been that way since 2014; odd that nobody else has noticed! I have amended them to conform with the correct standard.
posted by Ros Haywood
Hello Profile Managers!

We are featuring Charlotte as the Example Profile of the Week in the Connection Finder on April 21, for her birthday, with the theme of 19th Century Women Authors. Between now and then is a good time to take a look at the sources and biography to see if there are updates and improvements that need made, especially those that will bring it up to WikiTree Style Guide standards. We know it's short notice, so don't fret too much. Just do what you can. A Team member will check on the profile the day before the Connection Finder is updated and make last minute style-guide changes as necessary.

Thanks! Abby

posted by Abby (Brown) Glann
Hi, Abby! Thank you for the notice. The profile still looks pretty good. If anyone wants to add something else, they may do so. Thank you again.