Daughter of John Bernard Gilpin (1701-1776), commandant at Carlisle in 1745, and Matilda Langstaff (d. 1773). Born at Scaleby Castle. She won some contemporary fame for her songs in the local Cumbrian dialect. She shared lodgings with poet Susanna Blamire (1747-94) for a time.
Boswell met her at Springkell on October 11, 1762, where she stayed (as did Boswell) for a day. Although probably not one of Boswell's amorous relationships they did seem to hit it off well and entertained each other and their company with singing, poetry and even practical jokes during their stay there. Boswell described er as "a fine lively creature, not pretty but of an agreeable countenance." They met again when Boswell visited Carlisle 16 years later, on August 21, 1778. On this occasion, he described her as "looking plump and cheerful and (in my opinion) better than when I saw her formerly".