The Jenkins Family

Mrs. Jenkins, the wife of the British Chaplain, would be able to secure me a cheap and decent residence and respectable protection
– Charlotte Brontë, quoted in Elizabeth Gaskell, The Life of Charlotte Brontë (1857)

Mrs. Jenkins told me that she used to ask them to spend Sundays and holidays with her, until she found that they felt more pain than pleasure from such visits. Emily hardly ever uttered more than a monosyllable. Charlotte was sometimes excited sufficiently to speak eloquently and well – on certain subjects; but before her tongue was thus loosened, she had a habit of gradually wheeling round on her chair, so as almost to conceal her face from the person to whom she was speaking.
– Gaskell, Life of Charlotte Brontë

The other three Miss [Brights] have been out very little […] but Louisa (the youngest) dined at the Jenkinss on Xmas day along with Miss Bronté & others with myself.
– Abraham Dixon, letter to his daughter, Brussels, 30 December 1843

Will you have the goodness, Sir, to inform me, whether I can get Licensed to this curacy, be inducted into Hartsheath Living, and obtain License for non-residence, in time, to give a Title to a Gentleman, who intends to offer himself a candidate for Holy Orders, at his Graces next ordination?
– Patrick Brontë to Thomas Porteus, secretary to the Archbishop of York, Dewsbury, 6 June 1810; the gentleman referred to is David Jenkins

The photos show Eliza Jenkins in the early 1860s outside the house which Mrs Gaskell visited. It is the only image of her and is published for the first time in Lies and the Brontës. The young man is Edward Taylor, friend of the Jenkins family in Brussels, and the man Jane Austen confessed she had ‘doated on’. The Jenkins folder is archived at the Evere cemetery near Brussels. It contains letters about moving some of the Jenkins graves from the old Protestant cemetery – which Charlotte had known well.

Monica Kendall