In 1831 Uttoxeter parish was paying for the support of one of its paupers, William Harrison, while he was living in Belper. William was young, aged only 20, but very poorly and he died in October that year. During his illness he was awarded a weekly sum of money between 3s and 5s, and when he died he was buried from the Belper workhouse. The receipt of the money and the subsequent funeral expenses were receipted with the shaky ‘X’ of one Ann Peakes, despite the fact that Harrison’s father and namesake was also living in Belper at the time. So who was Ann?
There are a number of options. She was either the nurse who took the weekly money as a salary for the care of Harrison junior during his illness, or a workhouse employee, or merely an intermediary between the parishes of Uttoxeter and Belper and the Harrison family. Genealogical research reveals no more, in that the only Ann Peakes discernible in Belper crops up on the 1851 census as the wife of an agricultural labourer. If the author of the ‘X’ was the same person as the census entrant, then she was only 20 at the time of Harrison’s demise (ie already married and the same age as Harrison himself). Parish nurses were typically older than 20, but it is not impossible that a young married women might make money from parish employment in this way.
Source: SRO D3891/6/35/1/11.