Eliza Bell Cox 1832


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Eliza’s sampler has a delightful free flowing border of entwined damask roses, heartsease, campanulas and tiger lilies in full bloom. This beautiful border has been executed in cross stitch over 2 threads. Her sampler depicts a sweet verse and an exotic bird perched on a leafy bough eyeing a pretty butterfly which rests dangerously close by. There is another documented sampler, Elizabeth Elliott 1835, that bears a striking likeness and it is likely that Eliza and Elizabeth attended the same school, Radcliffe House.

There are two versions of the verse ‘Forget Me Not’. We have found Eliza’s version recorded in the Rural Repository a ‘semi-monthly entertaining and amusing journal’ which comprised of ‘original and popular tales, essays, biography, traveller, miscellaneous, summary, poetry etc.’ The verse is unattributed.

Eliza stitched her sampler using a palette of 39 colours. There has only been a slight mellowing of colour over time and Eliza’s flowers, particularly the heartsease dance merrily around the sampler.

In Victorian England, the pansy flower was used for secret courting.  Any display of love or passion was severely frowned upon and in order to communicate to potential romantic partners the  pansy was employed.  It was placed in what was called a tussie mussie which was a bunch of herbs wrapped in a doily with some flowers in the middle.  The pansy flower was used to convey messages not easily expressed in Victorian England such as I’m feeling amorous towards you, I am thinking of you or I have thoughts of you or I’m missing you, but always it was about one person thinking of another. The pansy flower symbolizes  the love or admiration of one person for another. Traditional meanings of flower colours hold true for pansies, red and violet mean passion whilst yellow means having a bright disposition or happiness.The wild pansy, viola tricolour, has many different names including: ‘Heartsease’, ‘Heart’s Delight’, ‘Tickle-my-fancy’ ‘Love-in-idleness’, ‘Love-lies-bleeding’; and in Welsh ‘Caru’n Ofer’ (Love in vain).

The sampler is stitched in cross stitch over 2 threads, with the verse, the bird’s eye and butterfly’s legs stitched over 1 thread. There are a handful of straight stitches that form the stamens on the pansies. Eliza’s sampler has been rated as suitable for a confident beginner.

Eliza Bell Cox has been brought to you in collaboration with  J.Lee Halpin who has lovingly stitched the model. At the very core of Hands Across the Sea Samplers is a team of needleworkers who are passionate about antique samplers and being able to share those samplers with you.


Thread Legend

The sampler has been reproduced with Au Ver à Soie d’Alger silks and the skein quantities calculated based on 1 strand on 36ct fabric. We have provided a DMC conversion based on 2 strands on 36ct fabric. The model was stitched on 46ct Lakeside Linen Vintage Buttercream. Soie d’Alger / DMC 5115 / 154 x 1  Grape ~ very light 2946 / 304  x 1  Christmas red ~ medium 4635 /315  x 1  Antique mauve ~ medium dark 2643 / 351 x 1  Coral 2645 / 355 x 1  Terracotta ~ dark 4614 / 356 x 1  Terracotta ~ medium 3826 / 420 x 2  Hazel nut brown ~ dark 4215 / 433 x 1  Brown ~ medium 1846 / 500 x 2**  Blue green ~ very dark 2144 / 580 x 1  Moss green ~ dark 2143 / 581 x 1  Moss green 3835 / 640 x 1  Beige grey ~ very dark 3834 / 642 x 1  Beige grey ~ dark 3833 / 644 x 1  Beige grey ~ medium 2543 / 676  x 1  Old gold ~ light 2542 / 677  x 1  Old gold ~ very light 4244 / 680 x 1  Old gold ~ dark 2212 / 734 x  1  Olive green ~ light 2914 / 760 x 1  Salmon 4642 / 778 x 1  Antique mauve ~ very light 4624 / 816 x 1  Garnet 525  / 831 x 1  Golden olive ~ medium 524 / 832 x 1  Golden olive 3846 / 844 x 1  Beaver grey ~ ultra dark 4246 / 869 x 1 Hazel nut brown ~ very dark 4131 / 898  x 1  Coffee brown ~ very dark 4625 / 902  x 1  Garnet ~ very dark 5384 / 926 x 1 Grey green ~ medium 5382 / 927 x 1  Grey green ~ light 1811 / 928 x 1  Grey green ~ very light 2216 / 935 x 1  Avocado green ~ dark 2136 / 986 x 1  Forest green ~ very dark 236 / 3345 x 1 Hunter green ~ dark 4645 / 3726 x 1 Antique mauve ~ dark 4644 / 3727 x 1 Antique mauve ~ light 1745 / 3768 x 1 Grey green ~ dark 2911 / 3774 x 1 Desert sand ~ very light 4611 / 3778 x 1 Terracotta ~ light 2912 / 3779 x 1 Terracotta ~ ultra light **  If stitching on 46ct or higher only 1 skein of 1846 is required and we would recommend using Au Ver A Soie 100/3 No: 329 for the bird’s eye, No: 671 for the centre of the bird’s eye and Eliza’s name and the date, No: 530 for the verse.   LINEN SIZES The design area is 307 stitches (w) x 433 stitches (h). Our calculations have included a 3” margin for finishing and framing. 32ct – Design: 19.19" x 27.06" Fabric: 25.19" x 33.06" 36ct – Design: 17.06" x 24.06" Fabric: 23.06" x 30.06" 40ct – Design: 15.35" x 21.65" Fabric: 21.35" x 27.65" 46ct - Design: 13.35" x 18.83" Fabric: 19.35" x 24.83"                

Stitch Guide

The sampler is stitched in cross stitch over 2 threads, with the verse, the bird’s eye and butterfly’s legs stitched over 1 thread. There are a handful of straight stitches that form the stamens on the pansies. Eliza’s sampler has been rated as suitable for a confident beginner. Cross Stitch is made up of 2 stitches  worked over 1 or 2 threads. Make all your stitches cross in the same direction for a neat and uniform finish.     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 the CONTACT page on our website.    

Who was Eliza?

From historical records we know that Eliza was one of six children born to George and Mary Ann Cox. She was born on April 21st 1821  and baptised in June of that year at St Leonards Shoreditch, London. Eliza’s mother died whilst she was a child. Eliza grew up in a comfortable ‘middling’ class of family in The City of London(widely referred to simply as the City being differentiated from the phrase ‘the city of London’ by capitalising City. It is also colloquially known as the Square Mile). The City is a historic financial district, home to both the Stock Exchange and the Bank of England. The legal profession forms a major component of the City, especially in the Temple and Chancery Lane areas where the Inns of Court are located. Eliza’s father was a gentleman and one of the attorneys of his Majesty’s Courts of the Queen’s Bench (known as the King's Bench when there is a male Sovereign), Common Pleas and Exchequer at Westminster and a solicitor of the High Court of Chancery. Many of his cases are recorded in the London Gazette and Legal  Journal. Her father is recorded as practising law at Bush Lane in 1835  and in the 1841 census return at 14 Sise Lane (which is an abbreviation of the St Osyth). In 1835 the 23 year old William  James Walrond was articled to George Cox. William was a gentleman who was granted the Freedom of the City of London on August 5th 1840. The Freedom of the City is an honour bestowed by a municipality upon a valued member of the community, or upon a visiting celebrity or dignitary. In England, the most established borough freedom is that conferred by the Freedom of the City of London, first recorded in 1237. The Freedom of the City of London was, in the earliest times, an essential requirement for all who wished to carry on business and prosper in trade within the Square Mile. As a result, the privileges attaching to the Freedom were eagerly sought, while the duties and obligations of freemen were faithfully observed. The Freedom of the City has never been the prerogative of men alone. Ancient reports from Livery companies bear reference to 'Sisters', a fact which indicates that men and women were equally eligible for membership. The prospective Freeman is invited to read aloud the ‘Declaration of a Freeman’, summoned to sign the Freeman’s Declaration Book, and then welcomed as a ‘Citizen of London’. Each newly admitted Freeman of the City of London is then presented with a beautifully inscribed parchment copy of their Freedom, together with a copy of a little archaic book entitled the ‘Rules for the Conduct of Life’ a guide to conducting their lives in an honourable fashion. From the Middle Ages to the Victorian era, Freemen of the City of London enjoyed a number of inherent privileges denied to other city residents. Freemen had the right to trade and carry-on a profession, to own land and earn money in their own right; they could play some part in determining how the City would be governed; they could take sheep to market across London Bridge without having to pay the mandatory bridge toll, and sell their livestock, produce and goods wholesale. A Freeman could also carry an unsheathed sword in public, and if found drunk and disorderly in the City he would be taken home by the Police rather than being arrested and thrown into the cells. If found guilty of a capital crime a Freeman was extended the luxury of being hung by a silken rope. Eliza fell in love with William and on April 4th 1844 at St Stephen Walbrook, they were married. The following year they were recorded as living at 13½ Sise Lane where William practised law. They had two children, Mary born in 1846 and Robert born in 1847. William died in the latter part of 1848 leaving Eliza a widow at only 27 years of age. Eliza never remarried. Eliza Bell Walrond is recorded in the 1851 and 1861 census returns as being a land proprietress but in the 1871 census return she is no longer recorded as such but her son now having reached his majority and  aged 24 is recorded as being a land proprietor. Eliza still seems to have been in ample funds as she employed a cook and 2 housemaids. In later censuses she is listed as an annuitant. William left Eliza well provided for. Her household in 1871 was a large one. On the day of the census some 11 people were in residence at Chestnut Cottage in Mortlake. Her brother an attorney, also named George Cox, had passed away and his 2 daughters Bessie and Celia, and son Frederick were being raised by Eliza. Eliza cannot be found on the 1891 census but on the 1901 census she is living with Celia in her daughter Mary’s marital home. Eliza died on January 11th, 1904 in her 83rd year. After her death Celia continued to live with Mary, never marrying. Eliza’s daughter Mary had married Henry Trengrouse, a wealthy provision merchant. Henry was named after his grandfather. Henry Trengrouse senior was the inventor of the rocket line apparatus that fired a rope to stricken ships on the rocks, and enabled the crew to be taken off. Henry Trengrouse was born in 1772 in Cornwall. He was a cabinet maker when he stood helplessly on the beach at Loe bar near Porthleven on 19 December 1807 when the frigate H.M.S. Anson, a 44 gun warship, was driven onto the coast. 120 men drowned because they could not get across the short distance from the wreck to the shore because of the boiling surf. People on the shore could not throw a line out to the ship against the force of the gale. Later when watching a firework display on Helston Green to celebrate George III's birthday, Henry Trengrouse decided that a rocket-powered line might be the answer. His thought was that if lightweight rockets were put on ships, then grounded ships could help themselves. The rockets accelerated gradually, so the line would not snap. In an on-shore gale, the most likely scenario with a grounded ship, the rocket would be carried by the wind to the shore which was an easy target to hit. His invention was ignored by the British Government, but the Russian ambassador invited Trengrouse to St. Petersburg to develop the invention. He apparently declined out of British patriotism. The Society of Arts awarded Trengrouse their Silver Medal and thirty guineas. Eventually the government ordered twenty of Trengrouse's 'Rocket Life Saving Apparatus', examined them, decided to manufacture it themselves, and gave Trengrouse the derisory sum of £50 in compensation. During the 1800s a rival idea, the mortar which was fired from shore to ship, was more popular. However, it is Henry Trengrouse’s rocket that has stood the test of time. Lightweight versions are still carried on lifeboats today and must have saved thousands of lives.

Chart Correction

We apologise for a charting error. Unfortunately these do occur from time to time. Please see page 9 - the circled flower was omitted from the printed graph.      

A finish by Pamela Nesler

A finish by Rachel Taylor

Stitched by Joanne Jones


A finish by Maira Richmond

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