Richard Wilcocks writes:
|Dudley Green Photo by Richard Wilcocks|
Dudley Green, a stalwart of the Brontë Society, died on Thursday, 16 December 2021. He was 85, and had retired to the Charterhouse in London after leaving his home in Clitheroe, Lancashire. His funeral takes place at the chapel there (nearest tube Barbican) at 3pm next Tuesday, 25 January 2022. There may be (tbc) a thanksgiving service at St Martin in the Fields nearer Easter.
Dudley was a member of the Brontë Society Council (now replaced by Trustees), elected by members many times between 1991 and 2003. From 1992 to 1995 he chaired it. This was mainly before my time on Council - I was first elected in 1998 - but I soon saw him as a respected elder statesman who was full of welcome advice and information on how things ran and how things should be done. This was not always Brontë-related.
For some remote reason, my first conversation with him must have turned to the Romans (he was a retired Classics teacher), and I clearly remember that he informed me that the Roman army's javelin, the pilum, was thrown at the beginning of a battle before swords were drawn, and that it was designed to break. This was to prevent it from being thrown back. He was extremely knowledgeable about cricket, and was rather disappointed that I was not, despite living near the famous stadium in Headingley, and was fascinated by mountain climbing. After I had told him that I had just returned from climbing in the Lake District, he informed me about a book he had written about George Mallory, who may or may not have reached the summit of Everest in 1924. The book is Because It's There: The Life of George Mallory.
He was particularly interested in Patrick Brontë's life, and sometimes remarked on the inaccurate way he is portrayed in Elizabeth Gaskell's 1857 biography The Life of Charlotte Brontë, which is still taken as gospel in some quarters rather than Juliet Barker's encyclopaedic The Brontës (1994). In 2005, his The Letters of Rev. Patrick Brontë became the most complete published collection. It helps rehabilitate Patrick's reputation, showing him to be a tolerant and attentive father. Further rehabilitation came with the book by which he will be remembered in future, published in 2010: Patrick Brontë: Father of Genius. This contains a foreword by the Archbishop of Canterbury, which must have greatly pleased the author, a life-long practising Anglican.