decorative bar


corner Last update of this page: August 17th 2008 corner
Ellen Nussey
(April 20, 1817 - November 26, 1897) U.K.

Ellen Nussey



Nussey was the twelfth child of John Nussey, a cloth merchant of Birstall Smithies, near Gomersal in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and his wife Ellen, née Wade. Nussey first attended a small local school before progressing to the Gomersal Moravian Ladies Academy. Nussey and Brontë first met in January 1831, when they were both pupils at Roe Head School, near Dewsbury in Yorkshire. They corresponded with each other regularly over the next 24 years, each writing hundreds of letters to the other. In 1839, Ellen Nussey's brother, Henry, proposed marriage to Brontë, but she found him dull and refused him.

Ellen was a lifelong friend and correspondent of Charlotte. This friendship and correspondence with Ellen Nussey was unique amongst the Brontë sisters.

When Charlotte Brontë married her father's Curate, the Rev. Arthur Bell Nichols, at Haworth in Yorkshire in June, 1854, Nussey was one of two witnesses present. After they married, he became concerned about her letters falling into the wrong hands. Charlotte wrote to Ellen on 20 October 1854:

"Arthur says such letters as mine ought never to be kept, they are dangerous as Lucifer matches ... I can't help laughing, this seems to me so funny."

Mr Nicholl made repeated requests that the letters should be destroyed, but Ellen chose to ignore them and did not burn the letters. It is due to Ellen's preservation of more than 500 letters received from Charlotte's that so much is known today about the Brontë family. The letters were a major source for Elizabeth Gaskell's 1857 biography The Life of Charlotte Brontë.

After the death of Charlotte Brontë in 1855 Nussey devoted the rest of her life to maintaining the memory of her friend, and she was often sought out by Brontë enthusiasts and biographers. Following Nussey's death in 1897, aged 80, her possessions and letters were dispersed at auction, and many of Charlotte Brontë's letters to her eventually made their way through donation or purchase to the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth in Yorkshire.

Ellen Nussey died aged 80, at Moor Lane House in Gomersal in Yorkshire.


Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Click on the letter N to go back to the list of names

corner © Matt & Andrej Koymasky, 1997 - 2008 corner