A Closer Look at Henry Nussey
On this date eight years before Jane Eyre was published, Charlotte Bronte rejected a marriage proposal from Reverend Henry Nussey – Ellen Nussey’s brother. This event would later inspire one of Charlotte Bronte’s juvenilia characters who struggled between duty and desire.
Rejecting Henry was a courageous act against oppressive gender ideals, packaged as the ultimate “It’s Not You-It’s Me” gentle letdown. Henry went on to become vicar of Hathersage in the Peak District town portrayed by Jane Eyre as Morton; eventually he would meet his death under tragic circumstances.
Early Life and Education
Charlotte attended Miss Wooler’s school at Roe Head where she met Ellen Nussey and Mary Taylor, two fellow pupils who would become lifelong companions. These women would become close and confidants.
Charlotte turned down proposals from Henry Nussey and a young clergyman when she was 22. However, she continued her teaching and governess work to pay Branwell’s debts who was misusing his talents through drinking and drug addiction.
She headed off to Brussels in order to hone her French and German before opening up her own school back home in England. There, she found work at Cowan Bridge Boarding House which she later used as inspiration for Thornfield Hall in Jane Eyre.
Henry Nussey was Charlotte Bronte’s close confidante and writer Ellen’s brother. As a curate and later as vicar in Hathersage in Derbyshire’s Peak District – recreated as Morton in Jane Eyre – Henry held numerous positions before passing away in 1935.
He was an earnest individual with aspirations to missionary work. Charlotte tried to romance him but wrote an elegant rejection letter that made clear to him why their romance couldn’t work out; in it she provided a model example of a gentle letdown letter that let the future pastor down easily.
Nussey wrote an astounding letter, defying gender ideals at the time. Unfortunately, his poor health prevented him from recovering fully and he died in an asylum at 47, becoming Ellen’s second brother to succumb this way.
Achievement and Honors
Henry Nussey was a Reverend and brother to Ellen Bront’s close friend Charlotte Bront; and was seen as a potential suitor for Charlotte Bront; when his proposal came, Charlotte declined it in defiance against oppressive gender ideals and her letter was the basis for Elizabeth Gaskell’s 1857 biography of Charlotte Bront sisters.
At various points in his life, Nussey had aspirations of becoming a missionary and marrying an influential woman. After serving as vicar of Hathersage in Derbyshire’s Peak District for six years (which served as inspiration for Jane Eyre’s fictional Morton), Nussey met Emily Prescott whom he eventually married while serving St Mary’s Churchyard of Birstall where Emily Prescott later settled as vicar. Tragically though, Nussey succumbed to mental illness in 1860 but never gave up his ambitions before his final resting place: St Mary’s Churchyard of Birstall.
Charlotte Bronte relied heavily on him as her close friend and correspondent, providing over 500 letters which later formed the basis of her biography. Although shy and retiring by nature, he displayed great sympathy and affection towards Bronte and others that won them over quickly.
Emily Prescott from Everton in Lancashire became his bride. By 1845 he had taken on the vicarage of Hathersage in the Peak District (recreated as Morton in Jane Eyre), as well as becoming parish priest for Thornfield nearby.
Here, he met Caroline Helstone – his literary character’s sister from that novel – who played Charlotte’s aunt in Charlotte and Leigh’s lives. Caroline declined several marriage proposals from him and other individuals including Henry Nussey’s.
Brandon Blair Nussey has earned the highest compensation among executives at Lightspeed POS as Chief Financial Officer – earning an annual salary of CAD$648,543.
He is also a founding board member of Loran Scholars Foundation and currently sits on the board of Versapay Corporation, a fintech provider offering invoice-to-cash solutions. Prior to joining Versapay he served as CEO for Da Vinci Systems which provides software and services solutions for education.
John is also a founding member of the Freeing Energy Project, a nonprofit dedicated to hastening the transition toward cleaner energy sources. Prior to this endeavor, he held senior executive positions with D2L and The Descartes Systems Group before graduating with his MBA from University of Michigan and BA from Kalamazoo College respectively.