Catherine Cook, Brierley Hill School
Bordered sampler, dated 1812
T.53-1938 (view catalogue record)
Bequeathed by Mrs H. A. Longman.
Wool, embroidered with polychrome silks in cross-stitch. All the edges are bound in green silk ribbon.
Width: 12 7/8” (32 cm)
Length: 17” (42.5 cm)
The border comprises a wide repeating geometric pattern. The main body is divided into two horizontal sections. The upper larger section contains a symmetrical arrangement of detached motifs, such as baskets, flowerpots, flowering trees and sprays, and a central verse:
See Israels gentle shepherd stand
With all engaging charms
Hark how he calls the tender lambs
And folds them in his arms
Permit them to approach he cries
Nor scorn their humble name
For twas to bless such souls as these
The lord of angels came
The inscription comes from the first two verses of Mark 10:16, composed by Philip Doddridge (1702-1751) and published posthumously in Hymns Founded on Various Texts in the Holy Scriptures, by Job Orton (1755).
The lower section contains similar detached motifs arranged symmetrically either side of large floral spray. Above them is an inscription detailing personal information of the maker:
Catherine Cook’s Work Brierly hill School 1812
Most scholars would leave education no later than 15 to find employment, unless they continued to work at the school as a monitor or pupil teacher. A Katharine Cook was baptised at St Michael’s Church, Brierley Hill, Dudley, on 7 June 1795. She was the daughter of Joseph and Mary Cook. If this is the same girl she would have been 17 when she completed her sampler. Was she perhaps a pupil teacher at Brierley Hill School? There is no other baptismal record for a girl of this name at this time, so the exact identity of the maker of this sampler remains uncertain. In the early 19th century, baptismal records were not always complete or accurate.
Schooling in Brierley Hill
Since 1701 there had been a school building in Brierley Hill, but records do not exist for school teachers or pupils. By the 1830s there are records of Day, Sunday and National Schools in Brierley Hill, but there is yet no evidence that these schools existed when our sampler maker received her education.