Patrick Brontë (1777#150;1861) was the father of the famous Brontë sisters, Anne, Charlotte, and Emily, three of Victorian England's greatest novelists, but he was a fascinating man in his own right and not nearly such an unsympathetic character as Elizabeth Gaskell's The Life of Charlotte Brontë would have us believe. Born into poverty in Ireland, he won a scholarship to St. John's College, Cambridge, and was ordained into the Church of England. He was perpetual curate of Haworth in Yorkshire fornbsp;41 years, bringing up four children, founding a school, and campaigning for a proper water supply. Although often portrayed as a somewhat fobidding figure, he was an opponent of capital punishment and the Poor Law Amendment Act, a supporter of limited Catholic emancipation, and a writer of poetry. This is the first serious biography of Patrick Brontënbsp;for more than 40nbsp;years.