Bronte fans could soon be making a detour from Haworth to visit Crofton after a blue plaque was unveiled this week in honour of a lady who links the village to the famous family.
The plaque was unveiled at the Young People’s Centre on High Street, which sits on the site where part of Crofton Hall School once stood – the school where Elizabeth and Maria Bronte were once pupils.
Richmal Mangnall was the school’s headteacher in 1802, and author of one of the country’s best-selling books of the time, called Historical and Miscellaneous Questions for the Use of Young People. Charlotte Bronte’s copy is on display at the Bronte parsonage in Haworth.
Miss Mangnall was born in Manchester in 1769, but came to Crofton in 1780 to attend Crofton Hall School for young ladies. She stayed on as a teacher when she finished her education, before becoming its owner and headteacher.
Her book was used by teachers, tutors, governesses and parents to educate and inspire children.
The Wakefield Civic Society plaque marks the spot of her school room, and has been paid for by Crofton History Group with additional donations from the Constable’s and Pinder’s Charity, Crofton Smoke Signal, and Crofton Parish Council.
Mayor of Wakefield, Coun Elaine Blezard, did the big reveal and local historian John Goodchild brought along Miss Mangnall artefacts.
Kevin Trickett, president of the Wakefield Civic Society, said “This is another fascinating piece of our local history that we are delighted to commemorate with our latest blue plaque – our 35th to date. We are very grateful to the history group for drawing it to our attention and arranging donations. We plan to have 50 by the end of 2014 and welcome any suggestions people might have for people we can honour.”
Miss Magnall died on May Day in 1820, and is buried in Crofton churchyard. There is also a plaque on the outer wall of the church in her memory. Crofton Academy has its own tribute to her, with a teaching block called the Mangnall Block, and pupils attended the unveiling.