Name: Elizabeth Swarbrick
Father: William Swarbrick
Mother: Ellen Parkinson
Birthdate: 3 December 1870
Birthplace: Liverpool, Lancashire, England


Elizabeth Swarbrick became a teacher and taught for many years at St. Mary's Catholic School in Lea, near Preston, Lancashire. At that time, Catholic school teachers were normally not allowed to marry.

In their later years, Elizabeth's parents William and Ellen moved to Lea, near their daughter. After her father's death in 1898, her mother Ellen apparently moved into the school house with Elizabeth, where she died in 1909.


Elizabeth Swarbrick (far right) with her class at St Mary's Catholic School, Lea, near Preston


Elizabeth was still teaching at the school at the time of the 1911 Census but some time later she left teaching and became a nun with the Daughters of the Cross order, taking the name Sister Mary Cuthbert.

She eventually settled at St Philomena’s Catholic High School for Girls in Carshalton, Surrey, where she is still remembered today. When I contacted the school I got a very nice reply from Geoff Lockett:

"I am a teacher at St. Philomena's and the school's archivist. I am sure that I have come across Sister Mary's name sometime in last year when I was reading the old school magazines. St. Philomena's has been a school of the Daughters of the Cross since 1893 and the school hasn't changed much over the last 100 years.

I have spoken to one of our old sisters and she does remember a Sister Mary Cuthbert, but thinks that she was a nurse. Believe it or not the sisters pray for all of the dead sisters each day and Sister Mary's name is said each day!"

Sister Mary Cuthbert Swarbrick died in Carshalton in 1952, aged 81 years.


1: Gemma Swarbrick, wife of Joseph Vincent Swarbrick, once taught at St Mary's School in Lea. A few years ago the school was visited by an elderly ex-pupil. When he was introduced to "Mrs" Swarbrick he told Gemma that his teacher all those years ago was a "Miss" Swarbrick. Gemma didn't know it at the time, but the Miss Swarbrick the old gentleman referred to was her husband's great-grandaunt Elizabeth Swarbrick.
2: The photograph of St Mary's School in Lea was taken by myself during a visit there in the mid-1990s. The photo of Elizabeth with her class was kindly provided by Joan Pritchard and Gerald Mulkerrin.
3: The above information is taken from the baptism register for St Francis Xavier's Church, Liverpool held on microfilm at the Liverpool Record Office; the 1901 and 1911 Census returns on-line at; and the above mentioned e-mail from Geoff Lockett. I am especially indebted to Gerald Mulkerrin, whose recollections of Elizabeth are very much appreciated.


Elizabeth's Family Census Returns Burial Records Surname Index Home