Extract from Romantic Richmondshire (1897) by Harry Speight

Betty Webster (1790-1896) ©Harry Speight

"For more than 50 years she had been devoted to the weed and in the opinion of many this ever-welcome solace added to her length of years. She was, however, of a naturally vigorous and robust constitution, and at the age of 80 could work in the hayfield with quite surprising dexterity. She came of a long-lived race; her father, a mining agent, lived to the age of 100, and two of her aunts attained the ages respectively of 102 and 104 years. Her only brother also died at the age of 90. She was born at Thwaite, in Swaledale, on February 25th, 1790, and in answer to my enquiry said she well remembered walking to Muker church at the age of three to be christened. ...On each of her last six birthdays, Mr. J.B. Smithson, of Leyburn, made a special visit...for the purpose of taking her photograph.

His last presentment was taken on April 7th, 1896, and is here reproduced. ...Quietly and painlessly, from pure decay of nature, the venerable woman passed away on June 14th, 1896, aged 106 years and three and a half months."