The year of our Lord seventeen hundred and twenty-three was such a long time ago. Almost three hundred years have passed since Ann Gardner of Pilerton Priery (sic) completed her sampler on the eighteenth day of Desember (sic). Ann did not record her age, but we suspect that she was a very young child and that this was her first attempt at stitching a sampler. She diligently recorded the alphabet although her spelling certainly needed improvement. She stitched seventeen birds and twenty-seven crowns which she scattered around the border of her sampler.
A priory is a Christian convent or monastery which is supervised by a prior who is considered as lower in rank than an abbess or an abbot. A priory is a subsidiary to an abbey but serves the same function, providing a place of living and worship for monks, priests and nuns. The word comes from the medieval Latin word “priora” which means monastery. Ann did not live in a priory nor was she taught by nuns.
In the county of Warwickshire, seven miles from Stratford-upon-Avon and east of the Cotswold Hills, lies the village of Pillerton Priors. One mile to the east, is its sister village of Pillerton Hersey. Together, they are known as “The Pillertons.” The village is in the heart of England and is surrounded by glorious countryside.
There are still Gardners farming in Pillerton Priors today at Sandpits Farm. The early parish records are filled with numerous entries relating to the Gardner family. Regrettably we were unable to find our Ann among them. It is possible that Ann was a diminutive of her baptismal name, we found a few Hannah’s and a Mary Ann. The churchyard contains several ancient headstones with the Gardner name. We also found a reference to a parochial charity which “expended” coals for the poor on New Year’s Day from the interest on a bequest from Thomas Gardner.
With grateful thanks to Linda Clews who lovingly stitched the model. At the very core of Hands Across the Sea Samplers there is a team of needleworkers who are passionate about antique samplers and being able to share those samplers with you.
Ann’s dainty sampler has been reproduced using Legacy Linen in 53/63 count Sycamore Seedpod with one strand of Au Ver à Soie silk from their Surfine range. The spool quantities used have been listed in the thread legend below. We have provided conversions for Au Ver à Soie from their d’Alger and 100.3 range together with DMC. We have used the vibrant colours found on the front of the sampler.
Surfine / 100.3 / d’Alger / DMC ~ Colour Description
2022 x 1 / 022 x 1 / 2213 x 1 / 833 x 1 ~ Golden olive ~ light
2037 x 1 / 037 x 1 / 4633 x 1 / 778 x 1 ~ Antique mauve ~ very light
2148 x 1 / 148 x 1 / 2531 x 1 / 3822 x 1 ~ Straw ~ light
2109 x 1 / 524 x 1 / 2925 x 1 / 815 x 1 ~ Garnet ~ medium
2597 x 1 / 597 x 1 / 3416 x 1 / 838 x 1 ~ Beige brown ~ very dark
Crème x 1 / Crème x 1 / 3711 x 1 / 3866 x 1 ~ Mocha brown ~ ultra very light
2491 x 1 / 491 x 1 / 3724 x 1 /3345 x 1 ~ Hunter green ~ dark
2648 x 1 / 648 x 1 / 4636 x 1 / 902 x 1~ Garnet ~ very dark
2712 x 1 / 002 x 1 / 5381 x 1 / 168 x 1 ~ Pewter ~ very light
2417 x 1 / 072 x 1 / 5384 x 1 / 932 x 1 ~ Antique blue ~ light
2710 x 1 / 710 x 1 / 5386 x 1 / 924 x 1 ~ Grey green ~ very dark
The design area is 210 stitches (w) x 238 stitches (h). Our calculations have included a 3″ margin for finishing and framing.
28ct ~ Design: 15.00″ x 17.00 ” Fabric: 21.00″ x 23.00″
32ct ~ Design: 13.13″ x 14.88″ Fabric: 19.13″ x 20.88″
36ct ~ Design: 11.67″ x 13.22″ Fabric: 17.67″ x 19.22″
40ct ~ Design: 10.50″ x 11.90″ Fabric: 16.50″ x 17.90″
46ct ~ Design: 9.13″ x 10.35″ Fabric: 15.13″ x 16.35″
56ct ~ Design: 7.50″ x 8.50″ Fabric: 13.50″ x 14.50″
Ann executed her sweet sampler with cross stitch over two threads, Algerian eyelets, satin stitch, short straight stitches, double running stitch and buttonhole stitch. The model has been rated suitable for intermediate and advanced stitchers. It would also be an ideal choice for a confident beginner wishing to take their next step on their needlework journey. We suspect that this sampler was Ann’s first piece of needlework as a very young child.
Cross Stitch ~ When working cross stitch the top stitch should always lie in the same direction for a neat and uniform finish.
Buttonhole Stitch ~ The needle is inserted at the bottom of the stitch that is being made and then it is brought up at the top of the stitch and over the working thread, so forming a long straight stitch with a looped edge on the top line.
Algerian Eyelet ~ There is one stitch laid to every thread,so when stitched over 2 threads there are 8 stitches laid to create an eyelet. Do not tug on the thread using your needle as your thread will soon break. Instead apply pressure by pulling on the thread close to the stitch. Even tension should be applied so each individual stitch sits well within the eyelet.
Satin Stitch ~ Run a straight stitch between each thread of fabric in the direction shown on the chart. Use one thread making repeated passes until the desired
coverage is achieved.
Double Running Stitch ~ is worked in two journeys. On the outward journey you mark out the motif and on the return trip you fill in the gaps. It is also called Holbein Stitch.
Hands Across the Sea Samplers are on hand to help those stitching our charts. If you need assistance or have any questions we can be reached via email, address shown below, or the contact page on our website. Our website has stitching tutorials which can be found in the “sewing basket/tools” section.