When I first acquired an undated school girl sampler little did I know that her story would be as rich as the original colours she chose for her needlework. Whilst the sampler was instantly recognisable as Welsh there were countless Ann Roberts born in the 1800s in the Principality of Wales. Whilst there are clues to where Ann stitched her sampler in the village scene portrayed in her sampler imagine my great thrill when I found information firmly identifying our Ann tucked behind the sampler when removing the back of the frame.
Ann Roberts was born in the small and ancient seaside town of Nefyn on the north coast of the Llŷn Peninsula in Gwynedd, North Wales. Jutting into the Irish Sea from the awe-inspiring majesty of Snowdonia, the Llŷn (pronounced ‘khleen’ and sometimes spelt ‘Lleyn’) is a green finger of raised and rumpled land some 30 miles long and averaging 8 miles wide.
From family history records we know that Ann Roberts was born in 1832. Her mother was also called Ann and was married to a master mariner. They lived at Mountain House, Penbrynglas, Nefyn. In the 1841 census Ann senior was noted as being of independent means with three daughters, Catharine 20, Margaret 12, and Ann the baby of the family aged 9. In the 1851 census Ann senior was listed as a widow.
Our Ann married Captain John Griffiths in the first quarter of 1860. On May 7th the previous year he has qualified as a master mariner. They set up home two doors away from her mother at 2 Bryn Glas, a house that they would occupy for the rest of their lives.
Ann and her captain had four children in 14 years. Ann the only child that survived her parents, Jane who died aged 8, Simon Robert who died aged 21 and Hugh John who died aged 1. Ann died aged 86 on January 16th, 1918.
The sampler is stitched entirely in cross stitch over 2 linen threads and can be worked either on linen or aida. The project has been rated as suitable for needle workers of all levels of ability.
Ann’s sampler in which she portrayed Nefyn in the county of Caernarvonshire, Wales was reproduced by Nicola Parkman and lovingly stitched by Jacqueline Morris. 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.
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.