Schrimshaw was born in Wrangle, a village near Boston, Lincolnshire, England, on 13 March 1884 to John Schrimshaw and Ann Maria Gilliatt, who were married in 1869 in Lambeth, London. She was the ninth of 14 children, several of whom emigrated to the United States. Her sister Rose died three months before her 100th birthday. Reportedly, her mother had seven more children, but they did not survive and their births were not recorded.
Schrimshaw was a World War I veteran, serving in France as a nurse. She ran nursing homes in Hampstead, London and Hemel Hempstead, Hampshire before retiring to the seaside town of Skegness, Lincolnshire in her 70s. She never married and had no children due to her fiancé’s death during World War I.
In 1986, Schrimshaw moved into a Skegness nursing home, having already previously lived in two nursing homes. Throughout her life, she was affectionately known as Nancy by her friends and family. She died on 29 March 1994 at the age of 110 years, 16 days.
Schrimshaw was noted for her longevity on her 107th, 109th, and 110th birthdays, as well as after her death, in the Lincolnshire Echo. When she was 109, town councillors proposed that a street – Schrimshaw Court – be named after her, and they succeeded.
Schrimshaw’s age was verified by Roger Thatcher and validated by the GRG on an unknown date.