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The Bronte Society corrects a grave error

April 30, 2013|By Jenny Hendrix
  • A scene from "Jane Eyre" based on Charlotte Bronte's novel. Charlotte, the longest-lived of her literate siblings, chose the location of her youngest sister Anne's grave when she died in 1849.
A scene from "Jane Eyre" based on Charlotte Bronte's novel.… (Laurie Sparham / Focus Features )

Anne Bronte, younger sister of Charlotte and Emily, has a new gravestone, the BBC reported Tuesday. The new plaque corrects a 164-year-old error on the original. 

Anne, author of the novels "Agnes Grey" and "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" as well as a volume of poems, died of tuberculosis in 1849, at the age of 29.  But her headstone in St. Mary's Churchyard in Scarborough, England, gave her age as 28. 

The original gravestone was resurfaced three years after Anne's death, when her sister Charlotte found five different errors on it. Though these mistakes were corrected at the time, Anne's age was not.

The new plaque, which was installed Saturday by the Bronte Society, offers a correction. Below the novelist's name and dates of birth and death, the stone cites the original gravestone's text, along with the note: "The text contains one error. Anne Bronte was aged 29 when she died." 

The new stone lies alongside the original, which has significantly deteriorated in the many years since it was first placed.

Anne's death, which came only three days after she arrived at the resort in Scarborough where she'd hoped her condition might improve, was just one of the many tragedies that engulfed the Bronte family. Their brother Branwell had died eight months prior, followed three months later by Emily, shortly after she finished writing "Wuthering Heights." Charlotte, who continued to write after the death of her siblings, succumbed to tuberculosis herself in 1855. 

Of all the Brontes, Anne--who can sometimes be overlooked in favor of her more well-known sisters--is the only sibling who is not buried at the family home in Haworth, West Yorkshire. Charlotte, knowing Anne's love of Scarborough, wrote that she had decided to "lay the flower where it had fallen."


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