Catherine Jane Howell (Sampler at Narberth Museum)

Catherine Howell was born on 22nd January 1863 and first lived with her grandparents Daniel & Martha John, retired farmers, at Kilrath Cottage, North Narberth. Her sampler, currently exhibited at Narberth Museum, was completed when she was c.13 years old and is typical of the needlework completed by girls as part of their schooling. It is described as having ‘gothic alphabets in subtle shades on a loose scrim background…’

By 1881, Catherine was described as being a ‘pupil teacher’ before being appointed as ‘School Mistress at the Workhouse’ in Narberth in 1886. She later went on to become Assistant Matron and was practising midwifery from July 1901.

The Pembrokeshire Herald & General Advertiser, on 3rd Apr 1903, reports on a presentation to a ‘Miss Howell’ of Narberth for her dedication to her role at Narberth Board School:

‘… it was high time for Narberthians to show their practical appreciation of Miss C. Howell’s long and valuable services as lnfant Mistress of the Board School.’

 Upon receiving a gold watch, the article describes the ‘recipient’s efficiency, high moral character and her tender care for the little ones under her tutorage…the watch (was given) as a token of respect for so worthy a teacher’

Miss Howell’s impact on the pupils she taught was evident through the presentation of ‘on behalf of the School Children,… a purse of  gold’, while ‘every parent in Narberth reposed implicit confidence in her’. Furthermore, the Headmaster said that it gave him ‘very great pleasure to see that the good people of Narberth had shown their regard for the best co- worker he had ever met’.

The article continues: ‘Miss Howell, who was visibly affected, remarked that she was “very grateful to all for their valuable gifts and kind remarks”. She hoped to please them in future as she had done in the past’.

Catherine Howell’s life was spent in service to her community. By 1939 she was described as a ‘Retired Nurse’ living at 58 St. James Street, Narberth. She died, aged 83, in September 1946.

Categories: Agriculture

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