Grumpy old fart!!!

"If you talk to God you're religious. If God talks to you, you're psychotic."

Mary Ann Whitmarsh

Mary Ann Whitmarsh
Newspaper Seller, Shepton Mallet, Somerset.
Mary Ann was admitted to the Asylum on February 24th 1914, a widow aged 66, suffering with Dementia.
Her height was recorded as being 5ft.
She was described as “Disorientated and Demented”
Answers every question by saying; “I don’t know or I can’t”
She is somewhat deaf, both arms have bruises and she is very dirty.
Neighbours of Garston Street, Shepton Mallet say she has long been vacant in manner and expression and that she scours the streets collecting scraps of paper. Does not take any care of her person or her house and resists help.
Neighbours in Garston Street say she constantly talks of seeing her dead husband and had been very much affected by his death.
Mary’s husband, William, aged 77, one of the last Somerset Velvet Weavers, was knocked down and killed in September 1912, by an express train, while crossing the railway at Barren Down, Shepton Mallet.
July 24th 1914
She is dull and vacant when addressed. Potters aimlessly about and mutters to herself. Has to be washed and dressed and would spend her day in bed if she had access to the dormitories.
January 10th 1916
When addressed by staff she stares vacantly or mutters something unintelligible. Lost and bewildered. Has no knowledge of her position and pays no attention to what goes on around her.
Cardiac action is poor, health failing.
April 18th 1916
Impossible to examine her as she is resistive. In bed with a feverish cold. She is very difficult taking her food.
April 25th 1916
She gradually failed and died today in the presence of Nurse Rosina Williams.
Cause of death: Cerebral Hemorrhage.
Mary died aged 68 and is buried in the Mendip Hospital Cemetery F221
Rest in peace Mary

Graham Fagan

March 7, 2023 - Posted by | Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , ,


  1. It was good to know that the community tried to help her.

    Comment by fenlandphil | March 7, 2023 | Reply

    • Do you remember Walnut Tree House in Huntingdon, which later became Petersfield Hospital, I did a placement there just before we moved to the new Hinchinbrooke Hospital in 1976, ours was the first ward to open, but I remember my Nanna taking me there to visit the daughter, whose mother was committed there for being pregnant whilst unmarried, sadly she died in the 70’s I believe never leaving the “care” system.

      Comment by summertime75 | March 8, 2023 | Reply

  2. I can remember Walnut Tree when it was a hospital, I never passed through its doors though. My grandad’s second wife had a baby out of wedlock but the family didn’t seem to have a problem with it in about 1918. There was a garage right on the corner of St Peter’s Road and Ermine Street, owned I think by White’s there was another garage owned by them on the opposite side of the road on the other side of the Iron Bridge.
    I can remember the Civil Defence depot between the Iron Bridge and Brattles Cycle shop too.

    Comment by fenlandphil | March 8, 2023 | Reply

  3. […] Mary Ann Whitmarsh […]

    Pingback by Mary Ann Whitmarsh – | April 7, 2023 | Reply

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