Project Description

MARY ANN WARD (née Durant) 1855–1938

Born Newark, Nottinghamshire in Oct-Dec 1855

Married Edward Ward on 12th July 1897 at St Mary’s Church, Radcliffe on Trent

Daughter Grace Reynolds Durant born 8th July 1889 in Radcliffe on Trent

Died November 17th 1938 in Radcliffe on Trent

Before the First World War

In 1861 five year old Mary was living at 5 Hardy’s Yard, Stodman Street, Newark with her grandfather John, a groom, father Robert, 50, also a groom, mother Mary, 32, a laundress (born in Ireland), brothers Samuel, 12, a labourer and Robert, 8. By 1871 Mary Ann was living away from home. She may have been the Mary Ann Durant, age 17, who was living with George Pink and family on Middle Gate, Newark and working as a personal domestic servant. However, there is also a Mary Ann Durant who was born in 1854 in Newark to different parents whose age matches that on the census form.

By 1881 Mary was living at Manor Farm, Shelford Road, Radcliffe on Trent, a servant in the house of George Morley, age 59, retired agent, and his wife. Also boarding there was George Johnston, 65, retired accountant. Her age was recorded as 21, although she was 25 according to the birth register. In 1891 Mary, 31 (35) was a servant living on Cropwell Road, Radcliffe in the house of James Brunner and family. He was a retired congregational minister. Her one year old daughter Grace was living with her grandmother Mary Durant (born in Ireland) on Bingham Road, Radcliffe. Visiting them were Mary Ann’s brother Samuel, a railway engine driver, and family. Her father Robert, 82, was in the Bingham Union Workhouse on Nottingham Road, Bingham. He died in 1894 in Bingham.

At the time of Mary’s marriage to Edward Ward on 12th July 1897 in Radcliffe, Edward was a widower, age 40, living in Stathern, Leicestershire. His first wife Mary Rebecca died in 1891. Mary Ann’s mother died in July 1897.  Her burial plot was purchased on 11th July and she was buried in Radcliffe cemetery on 14th July 1897, two days after her daughter’s marriage.

In 1901 Mary, 41, and Edward, 44, a bricklayer/labourer were living in Barkestone, Leicestershire with Edward’s son Tom Ward, 14, a farm plough boy, and her daughter Grace, 11.

By 1911 Mary had moved back to Radcliffe on Trent and was living on Cropwell Road with daughter Grace, 21. Mary was now a district nurse and is recorded as married. Her husband Edward was living in Barkestone with his daughter Sarah and his three grandchildren: John Edward, 12, and Dorothy and Annie, both 10. Edward is recorded as head of the family and married. Mary’s brother Samuel John Durant, 63, now a widower, was living alone on Albert Street, Radcliffe, having retired from his occupation of railway engine driver.

In her nursing diary for 1911-1912, Mary records regular home visits to look after the welfare of mothers and babies, as well as visits to the sick, the elderly and the dying.

The following letters give an example of the duties she undertook:

Bingham Union
Bingham, Notts
6th Feby 1912

Dear Madam,
Children Act, 1908
I enclose copy of notice received this morning from Mrs H. Beeson from which it appears that the child Mary Holmes has been removed from Mrs. Edwards to Mrs. Beeson. I have not received from Mrs Edwards a notice of removal as required by the Act but have sent her a form of notice and asked her to fill it up and return it to me without delay.
Yours truly,
R.H. Beaumont

Mrs M. Ward                                                              
District Nurse                                                      
Radcliffe on Trent

Mary wrote a letter in response to this and received the following reply:

Bingham Union letter to Mary Ward


During the war

Mary continued with her district nursing duties in Radcliffe throughout the war. Her workload is likely to have increased markedly during this period, as according to the Queen’s Nurses’ Magazine, October 1914:

‘…everywhere Queen’s Nurses (district nurses) are in request for special work, in addition to their own duties, heavily increased as these are and likely to be during the coming winter. For suffering through war is not confined to our soldiers and their families, but is felt acutely in unemployment and consequent privation, sickness and general misery in every corner of the land.’

She and her daughter Grace moved to Victoria Road (now Street), off Cropwell Road some time after 1912. In Kelly’s directory 1912 she is listed as a district nurse, address Cropwell Road but by Kelly’s 1916 directory her address is Victoria Road, Radcliffe on Trent.

Her daughter Grace became a Red Cross V.A.D. nurse in WW1 – see Grace Reynolds Durant’s biography in the Radcliffe Women section of the website.

After the war

Mary’s district nursing career continued after the war, her name appearing in Wright’s directory for 1920 and Kelly’s directory 1925, still living on Victoria Road.

Her husband Edward was living in Barkestone, Leicestershire at the time of his death in 1923. He was buried in the parish of Stathern, Leicestershire on 4th April 1923, age 66.

In the electoral registers for 1925 and 1927 Mary is living on Victoria Road. She is not living there in the 1931 register, but in 1929 and 1931 there is a Mary Ward living on Holme Road, with a residence and occupation qualification to vote in parliamentary and local government elections.

Mary’s brother Samuel died on 13th October 1934 in Surrey. At his date of death he was living at ‘Elsworth’, High Street, Knaphill, Woking.

Mary died on November 17th 1938 in Radcliffe on Trent, age 83. She is buried in Radcliffe cemetery with her mother, in an unmarked grave.