ELizabeth Brown 21.12.1924 to 8.9.2010
Betty Brown died quickly and peacefully on the 8th September 2010. The funeral was held on the 16th September 2010. She is buried in the cemetery above Graham street where she lived for the last 35 years overlooking the lake district and Sparkenhoe where her aunts lived and had many happy memories there.
The following is the eulogy Sarah read out at the funeral.
Eulogy Mrs Elizabeth Brown
"Jonathan and I are here to celebrate the life of our mum , Betty Brown and say goodbye.
She was the eldest daughter to George and Sarah Richardson and sister to Molly. Born to a land owning family on Low Plains, a farm first enclosed by The fifth Duke of Devonshire, she was surrounded by amazing history right from the start. This was to prove a strong influence on her future interests.
Being a weekly boarder at Carlisle High School from the age of 6 she was able to say she was one of the longest attending pupils and there, made life long friends. Later she was very involved in helping to run the school’s old girls reunions and contributed to literature written about the High school which later became known as St Aidan’s.
She spent a lot of time at her Aunts’ house, Sparkenhoe, in Penrith, and also made life long friends with evacuees from Newcastle Grammar school. As her aunts’ house was full of documents, these provided her with a rich source of material for her later research.
Later she studied at Edinburgh University, where she would proudly tell me how she ran up Aurthur’s seat before dawn on May the first, a traditional event which was a re-enactment of an ancient pagan rite.
After Edinburgh she made more friends while working in the tax office in Ripon but then returned to her parents’ home in Carlisle.
She often told me how she felt someone was pushing her in the right direction. She described how she saw my tall dark very handsome father across the dance floor at the Crown and Mitre for the first time, and felt at once that he was to be a pivotal person in her life.
Although my dad, Tom, had absolutely no experience of farming and my mum just a little, they worked very hard and diligently and made a success of it. They researched everything, including innovative new farming techniques which my dad then put into practice. They went into beef farming and reached record prices for many weeks running.
Mummy even then was doing lots of research on the farm’s history and I remember going for a walk to where she had discovered that before being enclosed, the fields had been common land and this was where horse races would take place. It had also been recorded that a lady had lost her hat and a ring. So at 7 years of age she had me searching for these in amongst the stones and grass. Not to be found of course, as they had been lost hundreds of years ago. I suppose it was her clever way of keeping me occupied.
But time moved on, and when we had to leave Low Plains, we moved as a family to Penrith.
16 years later after the sudden death of my father, Mummy was obviously very upset, but picked herself up and joined the Literature Group and the Penrith Ladies Luncheon club. Eventually helping to run and organise the latter, making many friends on the way. She also spent much time with her close friends, Bill and Sheila, including holidaying with them.
It was at this time that she began to research the family history which culminated in the book you all know about Jane Milbourn, who in my opinion, was a forerunner of women’s rights. Mummy’s book was finally published in 2007. She could have taught anyone how to do family research and she was meticulous in her recording of all the social side of the times as well. If you were to look in mummy’s rooms and drawers, these were never filled with just the expected. Looking through a magazine rack yesterday there were indeed magazines but also an 1842 title of deeds parchment complete with wax seal - just normal for our house!
Although people say she was a quietly spoken gentle lady, to me she was mummy. Yes she was very quiet and gentle, but if she didn’t have The Timespaper in the morning, she certainly knew how to make her displeasure felt! Her amazing knowledge of literature and history lead to moments watching films interrupted by her annoyance when they had dared to get their research wrong and make historical inaccuracies.
She has been very much part of our family and friends lives. In fact, I received a condolence card last week from a close friend and one line stands out and provides a real description of her. Our friend wrote,
‘She was always warm and interested and above all, she believed in me’.
This sums up mummy she did believe in you and she was behind you a 100% in whatever choices you made.
She will leave an amazingly empty space in all our lives."
Below is and article written by Cumberland and Westmorland Herald a week after Betty Died. Some of it you can see has been taken off of Sarah's eulogy. But when she wrote her book 'Jane Milbourn in Carlisle Gaol ' she had a big write up and picture in the paper and a half page spread in the Cumberland News.
PENRITH historian and author Betty Brown, whose work included the book Jane Milbourn in Carlisle Gaol, has died at the age of 85.