Charlotte Bronte’s Nurse – Nancy Wainwright


The Fate of Charlotte's Nurse?
The Fate of Charlotte's Nurse?

I was searching around through old news stories the other day. I find it very intriguing to read what was written about people like Jane Austen and the Brontes during the century they actually inhabited. It is interesting to compare the writing style to today’s columnists and jounalists. It also serves to track the evolution of the public persona of these literary giants.

Imagine my surprise to see the headline Charlotte Bronte’s Nurse in the New York Times December 24, 1884. Her name was Nancy Wainwright. Naturally, this sent me on a clicking spree. Oh, the story is tragic. I wonder how old she was when she was the Bronte nurse? They were born in the 18-teens. She must have been just a young girl. I had to know more about the workhouse and it is grim.  Poor Nancy Wainwright. Unfortunately, no one responded to the first article. She died there. I am still trying to figure out if she avoided the fate of a pauper’s grave.

Scrooge asked “Are there no workhouses?” Unfortunately, for Nancy Wainwright, the answer was yes, long after Scrooge had his epiphany…

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