Wednesday, 23 April 2008

A little piece of history

There has been a rush to get hold of a slice of a tree said to be planted by Charlotte Brontë as part of her wedding celebrations in 1854. The tree unfortunately had to be felled in January as it had become unsafe.

The trunk is to be made into a sculpture but a limited amount of the wood from the smaller branches has been sliced up and packaged as a limited edition souvenir.

Members have been asked to donate money to the Brontë Society’s conservation fund in return for the package of history and have responded remarkably: in just over a week a thousand pounds has been raised to support the care and conservation of the Society’s collection of Brontë objects.

The limited edition packs have been offered initially to members of the Brontë Society in return for a donation of five pounds or more to the charity. Donations have been flooding in from around the world and include one donation of a hundred pounds.

The Brontës may have been surprised by the interest but they may have understood it. Charlotte was given a fragment of Napoleon’s coffin by her teacher while studying in Brussels. The small piece of wood is now in the Museum collection.

Mr William Callaghan - a Brontë Society member from Oxenhope - was the first to receive his slice of history from Alan Bentley, Director of the Brontë Parsonage Museum. The two men are pictured below.

When it was clear that the tree was sick the Brontë Society had sapling grown from seeds from the Cyprus Pine, and one of these has been planted in the Parsonage garden to replace the original tree.

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