Rosa’s beautiful sampler is brought to you as a printed booklet and as an instant pdf download. Details of the instant pdf download can be found HERE.
We are delighted to present to you a very sweet sampler that was stitched by a four-year-old girl, Rosa Sugars. What a remarkable child Rosa was. Rosa tells us that she completed her sampler on July 20, a Wednesday, in the year 1881.
We have found Rosa in family history records. She was born in July 1877 at Aspley End in Hertfordshire to Charles and Adelaide (née Sears). In the 1881 census, which was compiled in the April, Charles was noted as a butcher and Rosa, at the age of 3 years, as a scholar. One would have expected a three-year-old to have had no occupation recorded. It was unusual for a child of three to attend school. It is also unusual for a child to stitch a sampler at such a young age! Rosa only turned four in the July of 1881.
The 1891 census finds the family living in very different circumstances at Weymouth Street, Hemel Hempstead. Charles had died in 1888, leaving his widow and three children to provide for themselves. Rosa at aged 13 had to work alongside her fifteen-year-old brother Charles. He was an envelope stamper and Rosa a black borderer.
Rosa applied black varnish to the edges of paper and envelopes. Funerary stationery was used to inform family and friends of a death. The Victorian society of the late 1800s was obsessed with death. Queen Victoria set the tone for this after the death of her husband Prince Albert.
The 1901 census reveals that Rosa is still living at Weymouth Street with her mother and younger sister. Poor Rosa, together with her sister, is still working with stationery, now as an envelope folder. It must have been a monotonous and soul destroying 10 years for Rosa labouring at the paper mill in Aspley.
The 1911 census finds Rosa married to Henry Bryant Hobday, a mechanic at the paper mill. They are living at 73 Weymouth Street together with their two-year-old son, Roland and a boarder who also worked at the paper mill. Frogmore Paper Mill is the oldest mechanical paper mill in the world. Located in the Gade Valley in South West Hertfordshire, Frogmore Mill was originally one of several water mills in the area built to grind corn. With the coming of the Industrial Revolution in the mid-18th century and an increasing demand for paper, the mill’s owners decided to diversify and converted it from agricultural to paper production.
Rosa lived a long life, dying in hospital on November 17, 1962, aged 91 years. Her husband had died a few years earlier in 1959. We do not know what life held for Rosa, but we do know that her son Roland, a Major in the Royal Artillery, was a prisoner of war in Singapore in WWII. This must have been a dreadful time for Rosa. Roland survived and returned home at the end of the war.
We hope that you enjoy stitching Rosa’s sampler with all its endearing anomalies. Make sure you study the chart and count carefully!
Rosa stitched her sampler with wool thread on approximately 20ct Penelope canvas. The stitches used are cross stitch over two threads. The design is suitable for stitching on Aida, Linaida, or linen
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.