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Mary Culley, Finchampstead


Front Reverse

Band sampler, dated 1790
T.167-1928 (view catalogue record)

Bequeathed by Dr J. W. L. Glaisher.

Linen, embroidered with polychrome silks in cross and satin stitch. There is a selvedge (the woven edge of the fabric that does not unravel) at the top and bottom and the sides are turned under and stitched.

Width: 11 1/4" (28.5 cm)
Length: 17" (43.2 cm)

Sampler Analysis

The sampler is worked in 19 horizontal bands of repeat border patterns, a double alphabet, numerals, motifs and inscriptions.

Bands 1-3 include a double alphabet in upper and lower case, numerals 1-9 and inscription:

AaBbCcDdEeFfGgHhIiKkLlMmNnOoPp QqRrSsTtUuVvWwxYZz123456789

Bands 4 and 13 are repeat border patterns;

Bands 5-8, 10-12, 14-19 contain inscriptions and personal information about the maker:

Be YOu TO Others Kind And True AS YOud Ha
ve Others Be TO YOu And neither DO not
SaY TO men whater YOU WOULD NOt Take
Again Fear God And Honour The King

LOve GOd ALOne AlL ThingS AboVe And AS
ThYself Thy NeIghbo r LOve DUty Fear
And Love we owe TO GOd Above

Mary CulleY is mY Name And England IS
MY Nation FInChamstead IS MY Dwelling
Plase And Christ IS MY salvation Finishd
in The 11 Year of mY AGe in The Year 1790

Thanks TO Mr Saint JOhn FOr GIvIng Me schooling And I HOPe TO Return it
By GOOd ImProveing GOd save The Church our King

Band 9 is a wide band including a central motif of Solomon's Temple. Detached motifs include flower vases, birds, a stag, fruit vine and a dog. There are birds on turrets flanked by lions and baskets of flowers with two birds.

Mary's Story

Mary Culley was christened on 12 December 1779 in Finchampstead, Berkshire. She was 11 years old when she made her sampler. Mary was the daughter of Robart and Ann Culley, who married on 11 December 1776. Mary had two sisters: the eldest, Sara, was christened in 1777, and the youngest, Elisabeth, was christened in 1788.

Schooling in Finchampstead

Children may have received some religious and secular education from a governess or in a local dame school. The Saint John family were large landowners and rectors of the parish in Finchampstead. The 'Mr Saint John' who taught Mary Culley is probably the Reverend Ellis. St John (c.1740-1809). Not only would he have instructed the children of his congregation in the tenets of their religion, but he may also have taught basic literacy and numeracy. Furthermore, the wives and daughters of the clergy, or the local gentry, would often perform similar teaching roles as well as providing needlework instruction.