Life Long Friends

Row 4 1121 Brown D52

In memory of FRANCES MARY BROWN, beloved daughter of Wm. BROWN, M.D., died February 14th 1924, aged 78 years.

Also of SARAH HANNAH STEAD, the lifelong friend of the above, died April 1st 1936 in her 93rd year.

‘They have done what they could’

Crimlisk Survey 1977

Frances and Sarah were children of the Holderness Plain, born about 25 miles apart. Frances has proved to be adept at avoiding the census limelight. I found her in only one census out of the eight she lived through. In 1891 she was enumerated at the Stead family home in Beverley. Twenty years earlier the house in Willow Grove was headed by widow Ann Stead and sheltered Sarah’s younger sisters Emma Mary and Christiana. In 1891 Christiana was the sole occupant, though she had a visitor on census night – Frances Mary Brown. So, Frances knew the family for many years but I didn’t find a source that placed her with Sarah at any time. We only have the stone. Its assertion that the spinsters did “what they could” begs an obvious question. Frances, I hope, was a good nurse. Sarah may have had plenty of free time to do “good works” – in six censuses that took a snapshot of her, five didn’t give her an occupation. In 1911 though, she wrote on her form that she was a Retired Nurse. She was living alone on Norman Avenue, two hundred metres from Frances.

The headstone gives the impression that they are together for eternity but this may not be the case. The St Oswald’s burial register gives 2, Granville Road, Filey as the last address for Frances – in the Street View below it is the house with satellite dishes, second from the right.

Sarah’s last address was in York but she died in Gloucestershire.

There is a photograph of the Old Mill in Oakridge Lynch here.

I don’t know if Frances had siblings. Emma Mary was the only Stead sister who married and she chose a 41-year-old widower as her helpmeet. Sarah was the last surviving Stead sister. The three did not create any children so I wonder who erected the headstone. William Brown the Chemist, I guess.

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