Anne Bronte’s First Novel
February 18, 2012 by staff
Anne Bronte’s First Novel, Hollywood actor Dan Aykroyd has been invited to visit Haworth by the Bronte Society after he revealed his ancestral links to the famous literary sisters.
The Canadian, most famous for writing and starring in the 1980s comedy Ghostbusters, believes he is descended from the Brontes’ surrogate mother, Tabitha Aykroyd, whom, it is said, helped nurture Charlotte, Emily and Anne’s passion for writing and literature.
Tabitha filled the maternal void left by the sisters’ mother Maria, who died when her eldest child, Charlotte, was five years old.
The domestic servant read to the children in their early years at the family home in Haworth parsonage and worked in the household for more than three decades.
It has been suggested that she was the inspiration for the character of the affectionate house servant Nelly Dean in Emily’s Wuthering Heights, published in 1847, and Hannah Rivers in Charlotte’s classic novel, Jane Eyre, in the same year.
She died in 1855, possibly of typhus, and was buried by the parsonage wall.
Andrew McCarthy, director of the Bronte Society, said yesterday: “Dan Aykroyd’s claim is quite intriguing. It just goes to show the reach of the Bronte’s ancestry really.
“We’re intending to contact him and invite him to the museum. I was aware he’d researched his genealogy in some depth so I’m surprised he hasn’t been to Haworth before.
“We’ve had many people come forward and reveal they’re related to the Bronte family, but this is quite a first in terms of famous people making a claim.”
Mr McCarthy also said he would not rule out the possibility of Mr Aykroyd, 59, becoming a patron for the society and museum.
“Advocates and supporters are always welcome, so we’ll leave our options open,” he said.
Mr Aykroyd has said he was “proud and excited” that Tabitha was his ancestor.
He said: “She was very loyal. I absolutely love Wuthering Heights and all the Bronte books so it was fantastic news when I discovered the connection.”
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