Ponsonby, Hannah, 1781-1861, Matron of the Retreat, York

Identity area

Type of entity

Person

Authorized form of name

Ponsonby, Hannah, 1781-1861, Matron of the Retreat, York

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Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

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Description area

Dates of existence

1781-1841

History

Hannah Ponsonby was born on 31st December 1781 in Whitehaven, Cumberland, to George and Hannah Ponsonby, née Lister. She had four siblings, although her two elder brothers died in infancy.

Her father's sudden death in November 1796 precipitated a mental breakdown in her mother which necessitated a removal to the newly-opened Retreat hospital in York. Hannah travelled with her mother to help with her care. She was taken on as assistant to the first Matron, Catherine Jepson, in 1816, presumably after her mother's death that year. In time, Hannah became like an adopted daughter to the Jepsons. After Catherine Jepson retired in 1823 Hannah Ponsonby became Matron under Thomas Allis and remained in the role for eighteen years.

Hannah Ponsonby was known to be cheerful and 'had a bright word for everyone'. She was popular both with the local Quaker community and within the hospital: several patients pronounced themselves in love with her. She retired alongside Thomas Allis in 1841, after which she lived on in York for twenty more years. In the 1861 census, she is shown as a boarder with the Allis family in Osbaldwick, and she died there on 18th December 1861, aged 79.

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Relationships area

Related entity

Allis, Thomas, 1810-1889, Superintendent of The Retreat, York (1810-1889)

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship

associative

Type of relationship

Allis, Thomas, 1810-1889, Superintendent of The Retreat, York is the associate of Ponsonby, Hannah, 1781-1861, Matron of the Retreat, York

Dates of the relationship

1823-1841

Description of relationship

Related entity

Jepson, Catherine, 1765-1844, née Allen, Matron of The Retreat, York (1765-1844)

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship

associative

Type of relationship

Jepson, Catherine, 1765-1844, née Allen, Matron of The Retreat, York is the friend of Ponsonby, Hannah, 1781-1861, Matron of the Retreat, York

Dates of the relationship

1796-1823

Description of relationship

Related entity

The Retreat, Yorkshire, hospital (1796-)

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship

hierarchical

Type of relationship

The Retreat, Yorkshire, hospital is employer of Ponsonby, Hannah, 1781-1861, Matron of the Retreat, York

Dates of the relationship

1816-1841

Description of relationship

Access points area

Occupations

Control area

Authority record identifier

Institution identifier

GB193

Rules and/or conventions used

ISAAR(CPF): International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families, International Council on Archives (2nd edition, 2003); Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names, National Council on Archives (1997).

Status

Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created 06/10/2017 by Alexandra Medcalf.

Language(s)

Script(s)

Sources

RG6/1021 Monthly Meeting of Pardshaw
RG6/1026 Monthly Meeting of Pardshaw
RET/6/5/1/1A Case Notes
Anne Digby, ‘Madness, Morality and medicine: A study of the York Retreat, 1796-1914’, Cambridge, 1985.
Mary R Glover, 'The Retreat York: An Early Experiment in the Treatment of Mental Illness', York, 1984.
The Annual Monitor, New Series No. 21, 1863

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