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Who was the old nurse?
First, we must ask what kind of nurse we are trying to find. But we must also establish what connection, if any, she had with Herefordshire, possibly with a family in the Ballingham area and if she and 'the old Herefordshire lady' are one and the same or different people. And is she Jeanne's 'mother's old nurse', or 'a nurse in her mother's family'; or perhaps both?
If the former, it seems probable that we are looking either for a sick nurse, for a midwife or for a monthly nurse. From the context of the family stories, someone who was specifically a midwife would seem unlikely. This nurse used to read from the old manuscript to the children; midwives were normally present just at the birth. A sick nurse or monthly nurse, certainly the latter, would be around to look after the children, but monthly nurses were there specifically for the month before the baby was due and the Keytes had no more children, who lived, after Jeanne was born. So for the nurse to have been of the 'monthly' variety, there would have to have been another child due, even if it was stillborn or subsequently died. A sick nurse, then, might be who we're looking for.
However, if the nurse, rather than being paid for was, as Mary Day's other description has it, 'a nurse in her mother's family', then we're looking for some kind of relation whose occupation could be a sick nurse, a monthly nurse, or perhaps even a midwife. There was talk in the family of a Nurse Greenhalf and we discovered that two of Jeanne's aunts, one maternal and one paternal, married two brothers called Greenhalf. But this line of inquiry has not yielded any results.
Our research shows there were many nurses in the area, including one, although probably too young, who lived in nearby Stanway. We think Jeanne's mother's sister-in-law's sister was a nurse but, again, she's too young. So far we've found no obvious nursing connections with Ballingham or, for that matter, with Herefordshire. But maybe there are none. Maybe several stories have run into one. We'll give more details later but you can see how confusing it all is from this standpoint alone.