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Nancy De Garrs

On the 26th March 1886 an old lady died in the Bradford Workhouse. Her name was Nancy De Garrs, otherwise known as Nancy Garrs. Her dying wish was that she didn’t want to be buried in a pauper’s grave. A newspaper reporter visited her a year before she died, to get her story. But who was she?

In the summer of 1816 she was employed by Patrick Brontë to help bring up his children, Charlotte had just been born. She stayed with the Brontës for eight years, as nursemaid and cook. She took the children for walks on the moors, told them stories, and took part in their games. She nursed their mother who was dying of cancer, and helped rescue Patrick’s reputation when it was damaged by the publication of Elizabeth Gaskell’s book. She never tired of talking about her days with the Brontës.

After discovering the whereabouts of her unmarked grave at Undercliffe Cemetery in January 2019, we initiated a fundraising campaign to purchase a headstone for this amazing lady.

We are delighted to announce that the target has now been reached and on Monday the 27th June 2022 the headstone was installed by Galbraith Memorials of Bingley, using Yorkshire Stone from a quarry in Oakworth.

We would like to give special thanks to Ian Galbraith for not only carving the stone but for making a significant contribution towards its cost and we would also like to thank Otley Road reunion, De Garrs family members, and others for their generous donations.

Ian Galbraith finishing off the installation
Family member Mike Bennett unveiling the monument
Family members and volunteers by the graveside
Other monuments in the same area

In order to raise funds in 2019 we published a booklet on Nancy’s story, including all the information we could find about her life with the Brontës, and afterwards. If you would like a copy of this booklet please call at the Undercliffe Lodge. The booklet is £5 if collected from the lodge or £8 if you wish the booklet to be posted to you. Please use our donation page on this website. The payment will be processed through CAF. At the same time please email us with the details of where you would like the booklet to be delivered to. All donations and money raised from the booklet will go to Undercliffe Cemetery Charity and help us maintain the grounds at the Cemetery.

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