Death on the Moor

Redbreast In the Morning

“What woke it then?  A little child

Strayed from its father’s door

And in an hour of moonlight wild

Laid lonely on the desert moor.”- Emily Bronte  1837


Haworth.  February 1801-

Two-year old Joseph Helliwell snuck outside and attempted to secretly follow his father  from their home at Enfieldside to Pecket Well, where the farmer had a business meeting.  Tragically, Joseph could not keep up as his father made his way up the old Haworth Road.   He was found frozen to death the next morning upon the Moor.

Haworth.  January 27, 1849-

Four-year old Joseph Halliwell was the son of farmer William.   They lived on Far Intake Farm.  One day, the little boy ventured out and became lost.  Four days later, he was found frozen to death upon the same moor which had claimed his  near-namesake less than fifty years before.


resource:  “Strange World of The Brontes” by Marie Campbell

Published in: on October 21, 2009 at 5:44 pm  Comments (12)  
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12 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Creepy! Some kind of haunted spirit? Would make for a great story…hint…hint!


  2. How tragic. Hopefully there were no more “Josephs” in the family after that! Seems an ill-fated name for the Halliwell clan.

  3. Ralfast,

    I know. I was thinking what a great story it would be, too. Alas, “Jacqueline” awaits…

    Maybe you can spin a good yarn out of it…

  4. DD,

    Gah. My apologies. I opened the book to double check if they’d been related or not. The first boy was, “Helliwell”. The second, “Halliwell.” (I fixed the post)

    “How bizarre that both children had identical names apart from the spelling of Ha(e)lliwell, lived in the same area and met their deaths in exactly the same manner!”- Marie Campbell, Strange World of The Brontes

    So not an exact match, but still close enough to be eerie.

  5. Close enough, could simply be the spelling changed over time, or depending on who was writing it down, it may have been altered. There are so many variants down the line of my surname. When I was looking at census records while researching the family I found a lot depended on the handwriting of the census takers, who probably misspelled more than one name.

  6. I *love* the eeriness you can find in history…

    🙂 What’s true provides so much grist for the imagination…

  7. Close enough to creep me out, definitely. 🙂

    Definitely a book in there. And now I feel the need to re-read Hound of the Baskervilles, because that’s the first thing my brain hits on when I see “death” and “moor” in the same sentence.

  8. Amy,

    Heh. This morning, when I switched on the TV, the old Hound version with Rasil Bathbone was playing.

  9. How awful…and bizarre.

  10. So tragic. I have been to those moors when I journeyed to Haworth. What a tragic thing for the families of the little ones. Life was very harsh to children back then! xx

  11. Indeed, Colby!

  12. It was very tragic, Josephine.

    On a much more positive note- that’s so great that you’ve been to Haworth. That’s one of my dream locations to visit. Of course, I have to go when the heather is all purple. 🙂

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