Partner Anne Lister
Crow Nest, Brighouse HD6 2LN, Regno Unito
Cliffe Hill, Wakefield Rd, Lightcliffe, Halifax HX3 8TH, Regno Unito
Shibden Hall, Lister's Rd, Halifax HX3 6XG, Regno Unito
St Matthew, The Vicarage, Wakefield Rd, Lightcliffe, Halifax HX3 8TH, Regno Unito
Ann Walker (28 May 1803 – 4 March 1854) was a neighbour to Anne Lister (1791–1840), a well-off Yorkshire landowner, diarist, mountaineer and traveller, but they didn’t met before September 1832. When they finally met, Ann was 29 and Lister 41.
The Halifax Guardian obituary of Anne Lister in 1840 recognized her longstanding spousal relationship with Ann Walker by calling her Lister’s “friend and companion,” a gratuitously compound phrase. Anne Lister and Anne Walker decided to become “companions for life” in a relationship that would, according to both, “be as good as marriage.” Lister sealed her union with Walker by giving her a ring and arranging to receive communion with her, along with a legal ceremony in which each woman willed the other her unentailed property.
Ann Walker was the youngest daughter of merchant John Walker (1754-1823) and his wife Mary, née Edwards (1763-1823) from Pye Nest. They lived at Crow Nest, Lightcliffe. The Walkers were successful manufactures and Ann Walker inherited the family property together with her older sister Elizabeth (1801-1844) in 1830 when the last male heir, John Walker, a brother, died at 26 years old.
Ann Walker suffered all her life from depression. As an adult she was very shy and withdrawn. Anne Lister tried to help having a daily schedule for her at Shibden Hall. She consulted Dr. Belcombe and sometimes sent her to his private asylum in York.
Ann Walker moved to Shibden Hall to live with Lister in 1834, after Lister's long affair with the married Marianna Lawton had ended. The couple lived together an Shibden Hall until Lister died in 1840. Walker's fortune was used to improve Shibden Hall and the property's waterfall and lake. Walker sometimes went to her ancestral home, Cliff Hill mansion, to visit her old aunt who still lived there.
In the paper obituary of Anne Lister, Ann Walker is described as Anne Lister’s friend and companion. After Lister's death, Ann’s mental health began to decline. In the end she was forcely removed from Shibden Hall and declared insane. Ann may have been infected with tuberculosis. Her sister Elizabeth Sutherland died of the same disease in 1844.
After being declared insane, Walker spent some years in the care of Dr. Belcombe before returning for a brief period to Shibden Hall. She then went back to her childhood, Cliff Hill Mansion at Lightcliffe, where she died on 4 March 1854, at the age of 51 years.
Lister's will left Shibden Hall to Walker and she received the rents from the estate. When Walker died, the Listers of Swansea moved back into the Hall.
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