Mary Brent was born in Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire on 10th October 1935 to Thomas and Sarah Brent. Thomas was a Master Blacksmith who ensured that his children had an education.
On the 1851 census Mary is listed as a scholar (resident) at the home of a School Mistress.
Mary married George Fulcher, the master of Morda workhouse, in 1856 at Eton, Buckinghamshire. They had four surviving sons: James Thomas (1855) and William George (1858) both born in Bishops Castle and Frederick D.(1860) and George (1865) born in Morda. Their fifth son, Thomas Brent died at 3 days old.
James Thomas and Frederick both emigrated to Australia seeking the new life. Their other 2 sons William George Fulcher and George Fulcher both followed in their fathers steps to become Masters of the Workhouse, William at Atcham, nr Shrewsbury and George at Oswestry.
Alongside her husband and, after his death, her son George, Mary ran the Morda Workhouse for 50 years as matron.
When her husband died the Workhouse Board noted the couple’s length of service and stated that their “Laudable service to the community, honesty, trustworthiness and characters as a God fearing couple” should be recorded. They went on to praise Mary for the way she had raised her son, George and “were ensured that he would follow his father as Master in the same manner”.
Her duties as Matron would have included overseeing all female staff and inmates, ensuring that inmates completed their work duties, behaved in an orderly manner. All children and pregnant women would have been under her direct supervision.
Mary was still listed as matron when she died in November 1914. She is buried alongside her husband in Oswestry Cemetery, in a grave marked by a cross decorated with a carved floral garland.