Though Writer’s Edit only got a peek at Briery Close, the estate in the Lake District where Charlotte Bronte (the author of Jane Eyre) holidayed, its significance to the literary world is too great not to note.
Charlotte Bronte became interested in the picturesque Lake District after exchanging letters with William Wordsworth, Robert Southey and Samuel Coleridge. However, by the time her funds allowed her to travel, these great poets whom she had greatly admired, had all passed away.
Years later, at the insistence of her father, Charlotte Bronte accepted an invitation to visit Briery Close, in the Lake District by Sir James Kay Shuttleworth. As a friend of Elizabeth Gaskell, Shuttleworth invited the author of Mary Barton and North and South to meet Charlotte Bronte at Briery Close. The two renowned female authors subsequently met at the beautiful estate in the Lake District, introduced to each other by the Kay-Shuttleworth family, Bronte, nervous and Gaskell, enthusiastic.
Though their meeting was brief, its influence on both authors is undeniable. In 1857, after Charlotte Bronte’s death, Smith, Elder & Company published The Life of Charlotte Bronte written by no other but Elizabeth Gaskell, at the request of Patrick Bronte, Charlotte’s father.
At the time of Gaskell and Bronte’s meeting, both of Charlotte’s equally talented sisters Emily (author of Wuthering Heights) and Anne (Tenant of Wildfell Hall) had passed away… to be alongside another kindred sprit must have been an immeasurable solace to Charlotte.
The quaint setting of Briery Close and its impressive surroundings overlooking Lake Windermere and the glowing countryside, played host to the introduction of two of the most influential and well-known female authors of the 19th century.