Sunday, March 13, 2016

*Now Available* Feniscowles Hall 1824

I struggled a bit with what to title this sampler, knowing that the name of the Hall would be a challenge to many. But the location is real, and the lovestory it commemorates is dear to my heart, so I opted to leave it as is.

Although this sampler is an original design and (sadly) not a reproduction of a family heirloom, the names, location, date, and quote are real. In 1824, an unlikely engagement took place between the eldest daughter of wealthy mill owners and the local vicar. Not only was he considered to be of a lower class, he had an additional shadow over his name, being the son of a bankrupt father (who fled to America to avoid prison).

It is a story well-documented and preserved in letters and journals, a story of two young people who married for love, and against all social protocol of their time. It is a story that has fascinated my imagination for nearly a decade now, and knowing that it happened in my own family tree makes me happy and proud.

My Great –Great (add a few more greats) Grandparents, John William Whittaker and Mary Haughton Feilden overcame all odds and went on to bring 9 children into the world. His career as a vicar of Blackburn Parish in Lancashire, England was by all accounts noteworthy, and although I have only had the privilege to read journals leading up to her marriage, Mary’s personality comes across clearly in her early writing. I wish I had known them both.

The house depicted in the sampler is my best effort of reproducing an old photograph of Mary’s childhood home, Feniscowles Hall. It was surrounded by trees and a deer park, with the river running nearby.

At the end of her life, after her beloved husband had passed away, she wrote in a letter to her children: “Oh what his love was to me from the first! … How my life became happy and complete … No one but himself will ever know how dearly I loved your Father. We were more precious each to each than any thing on Earth...”



Although you are more than welcome to stitch this sampler as charted, complete with my ancestor’s names and date, I included a full alphabet and number set so that you can customize it for yourself or to commemorate a marriage in your own family. I’m pretty sure John and Mary wouldn’t mind.



Stitch Count: 253 x 183

Model stitched on R&R Reproductions’ 32 count Heartstring Blend with one thread over two strands of linen.

Using flosses from Weeks Dye Works: Havana, Flatfish, Grape Vine, Oscar
And from Classic Colorworks: Straw Hat
And from The Gentle Art: Grasshopper, Mountain Mist, Old Hickory, Piney Woods, Ruby Slipper

Conversion to DMC available upon request.

The lovely frame is by Valley House Primitives: Profile: MCN, Color: Coffee Bean, Design: Small Swirl with Corner Fans


This design is now available in my etsy shop, and is already in the hands of my distributors and the shops that attended Nashville Market last weekend. If you prefer to bypass etsy and order directly through me, you can send me an email: beth@heartstringsamplery.com

8 comments:

CathieJ said...

The story is so precious and the sampler is beautiful. I wish I had such historical data from my own family tree.

susiedele said...

Although I'm not a cross stitcher I admire your work so much and so enjoy your family stories. I do own a couple of your paper cuttings from the past and have high hopes you will do more of those, also. I cherish them. Hugs... Susie Delewese

Robin in Virginia said...

Beth, what a wonderful tribute to your ancestors with this piece. It is a stunning sampler.

Mouse said...

Hi Beth :)I used to go to college near Blackburn many moons ago
did a quick search on google and found this
http://www.blackburnpast.com/2010/05/feniscowles-hall-preston-old-road.html
you got the building spot on :)

maybe this chap can help you more with finding out about your family past :) love mouse xxxxx

Elisabetta Borgomainerio said...

This pattern is really awersome Marvellous!!!

Cathy Lloyd said...

Love love love...very much enjoyed the story of this sampler and makes me want to stitch it for sure now!

Claire said...

Such toughing story! I wonder how aristocratic your sampler are felt

Silent Stitches said...

Beth,
The Feniscowles Hall sampler is spectacular!
When you get a free minute, please let us know the DMC conversion.
Thank you for another amazing design. Best wishes.~C/SS