Sarah Wrightson (nee Watson) of Castleton
Thanks to Thomas Leonard Wrightson
Of Sarah, wife of John, we know little, but it is understood she was a children's nurse
before marrying. It was customary for the nobility and gentry to employ a 'nurse' at
the birth of the first child. Originally, possibly as far back as early Norman times, the
nurse took over total childcare duties, including suckling the child, hence 'wet nurse'.
Nurse is a bit of a misnomer, as she often combined the duties of laundress, trainer,
mother and comforter. The children, at least up to five years, would learn from
'nanny' rather than their parents. Occasionally the bonding was total and nanny would
continue to live in as a member of the family.
After her marriage Sarah would have been a full time housewife. She must have been
kind hearted, as various relatives lived with her and John (see the relevant census
entries) and there is a tradition that she helped the wife and children of Francis.
Sadly, after what must have been a very hard life, she did not enjoy many years at a
less strenuous pace once her large family were no longer dependent on her, and died
at the age of sixty-seven. She was buried in Middleton Tyas churchyard.
TLW August 1996