25 Agnes Browne, Bunnadubber, Ballinrobe

The Neale Church, The Neale
Averil Staunton
Agnes Browne Front of Bene Merenti Medal

Born in 1909 at Bunnadubber, 3 miles outside Ballinrobe, Agnes Browne was the youngest of 13 children. She attended school at Cloonliffen NS and later the Mercy Convent in town. After secondary school she studied nursing and began her career at 20 years of age in Brighton Sussex and quickly progressed to becoming a Ward Sister and Assistant Matron.

Promoted to Matron

After some years she was promoted to Matron of Staffordshire General Hospital, in Stoke on Trent. This was a commanding post juggling the needs of doctors, nurses and patients.

Visits to Ireland & Schools

Agnes always remained a committed Irish woman and while on holidays each year in Ireland with her family she called to all the Covent schools around Mayo and Galway sharing information about nursing careers and encouraging girls to train in her hospital, which many did.

Recruiting Irish Girls

She believed in the quality of Irish girls and their capacity to bring a caring and cheerful nature to the patients; there was a high percentage of them in Staffordshire General Hospital.


Agnes was a ‘hands on’ Matron, visiting the wards twice a day both talking with patients and staff. Nothing escaped her eagle eye! In due course Agnes received the Bene Merenti medal award from Pope Pius Vl in recognition of her many years of exceptional service to the church.

Donation to the Neale Church

Before Agnes retired in the 1970s she donated a stained-glass window to the Neale Church when it was being renovated. When she died she was brought home for burial in the Neale with many of her family and former nurses attending her funeral. She rests in peaceful surroundings after a life of service and dedication to her nursing career and standards and her love for Ireland




Comments about this page

  • I trained in City General when Agnes Brown was Matron in the 60’s. When did she die? Is her grave marked  in which graveyard?

    I am still in contact with others who trained with me. Some are in Ireland others in Australia and USA, all would be interested in this.  We often wondered if she  retired and where is she buried.

    Thanks  Moira Kelly-Quinn Eugene Oregon

    By Moira-Kelly Quinn (22/03/2020)

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