New film charts Brontës’ links with Lancashire

Tracy Chevalier and Anna Stephenson as Charlotte on the packhorse bridge (s)

Tracy Chevalier and Anna Stephenson as Charlotte on the packhorse bridge (s)

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A new short film spotlighting Lancashire’s little known Brontë connections has been released.

Called “In Brontë Footsteps”, it features multi-million bestselling American historical novelist Tracy Chevalier.

Anna Stephenson as Charlotte (s)

Anna Stephenson as Charlotte (s)

Tracy visited Pendle this autumn for the first time, to find out about the area’s Brontë associations.

She is most famous as the author of “Girl with a Pearl Earring” and was chosen as the Brontë Museum’s creative partner for Charlotte Brontë’s 200th anniversary year.

The film also showcases the beautiful wild border country which inspired the Brontës, with views which Tracy Chevalier describes as “awe inspiring”.

Tracy said: “It is news to me that there are these Lancashire connections. But now I’m not surprised at all because it’s one big landscape.”

Tracy Chevalier on the old carriage track into Wycoller (s)

Tracy Chevalier on the old carriage track into Wycoller (s)

The novelist followed in the Brontës’ footsteps, walking over the moors into Lancashire along the Brontë Way and said: “It felt timeless and it was a feeling that I know the Brontës must have had.”

Tracy Chevalier made the six mile journey with fellow novelist Jessie Burton, international bestselling author of “The Miniaturist”.

They walked from Ponden Hall – thought to be the real Wuthering Heights - to Wycoller Hall, the real Ferndean Manor in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.

Jessie Burton was also captivated by the picturesque village and hall, set in its peaceful valley. She said: “It’s stunning, beautiful and quiet.”

Jessie Burton at Wycoller Hall (s)

Jessie Burton at Wycoller Hall (s)

Leader of Pendle Council, Coun. Mohammed Iqbal said: “Wycoller is just nine miles as the crow flies from the Haworth Parsonage.

“Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne Brontë often crossed the border over the moors into Lancashire, as Tracy Chevalier and Jessie Burton discovered.

Coun. Eileen Ansar, who leads on tourism, said: “Tracy’s thoughts and feelings on visiting Wycoller for the first time have been captured in this atmospheric film.

“We hope the film will encourage more people to come and visit our beautiful countryside and follow Brontë walks which can be found on our new website www.visitpendle.com.”

Volunteer ranger John Crow (s)

Volunteer ranger John Crow (s)

The film shows Tracy exploring the atmospheric village and ruined hall with John Crow, a volunteer ranger, storyteller and Friend of Wycoller.

John will be leading the last in a series of 21 events in Pendle to mark the Charlotte Brontë bicentenary with a ghost walk in Wycoller on Sunday, October 30th at 1pm where he’ll tell some of the hair-raising stories which inspired the Brontës.

The video also features Nelson and Colne College student, Anna Stephenson playing the part of Charlotte Brontë.

Anna (18), from Colne, is the youngest member of the international Brontë Society.

The film ends with Tracy taking the old carriage track down into the village in the footsteps of the fictional Jane Eyre as she is reunited with her lost love, Mr Rochester.

Tracy added: “I felt a little bit tearful as I was walking around.

“I’m going to go home and re-read the last section of Jane Eyre and say ‘I’ve been there!’”

The film can be watched on Pendle Council’s new tourism website www.visitpendle.com using Brontë in the search box or via this link https://vimeo.com/182411306