1:30pm Sunday 14th April 2013
With the Bronte sisters and their literary works as popular as ever, one Yorkshire entrepreneur has come up with an unusual way for their fans to get closer to the writers.
Richard Cunningham, who runs pen-makers York and Beyond, has obtained English Oak from the Haworth Old Schoolroom, where the sisters taught, and Haworth Church, where they worshipped and two are buried, during the buildings’ latest renovations.
He has now used the wood, which dates back to the 1850s, to craft three different styles of fountain pen, each design named after of one of the sisters.
Described as being “expertly crafted by professional wood turners in the sisters’ native Yorkshire”, each pen is also gold or silver-plated, and comes with a certificate of authenticity signed by church vicar the Reverend Peter Mayo-Smith.
He said: “They are lovely pens. It is much better that the wood gets recycled into something else.
“I like the idea of this wood becoming pens. It has that nice connection to the Brontes and their writing.”
A proportion of money from their sale goes towards the maintenance of the church and schoolroom.
Mr Cunningham says it is a great link for any fans of the sisters to have with the surroundings that inspired them.
He set up the company in 2006 with help from the Job Centre’s New Enterprise Allowance Scheme. He crafts the pens using a wood lathe and sells them online.
He started out by creating pens using wood from another heritage site – York Minster – before turning his attention to Haworth and its more obvious links to writing.
The Emily and Charlotte Bronte pens are made out of wood from the church where the authors are buried, reclaimed from a pew.
The Anne Bronte pen is crafted from wood in the Bronte schoolhouse, removed when the building’s window frame needed replacing. They cost £39.99 and come in a gift box.
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