Monday, June 8, 2009

How Mary Wigham probably lived at Ackworth


I decided to post here in English, a summary of what I posted in the blog of Mary Wigham SAL - Portugal about her.

I took the information from Carol Humphrey's Quaker School Girl Samplers from Ackworth book, published by Needleprint. A delightful book in my opinion.


Ackworth School is situated near Pontefract in Yorkshire in the North of England. It was built to be a Foundling Hospital, but in 1779 a School was founded there by Sir John Fothergill.


Mary Wigham was a girl from the region who attended Ackworth between 1788-1791.


Her piece is very important for the history of the samplers as it is the first known with medallions.


The region where Ackworth School is located is known for its very harsh winters. All children suffered from the cold and with it many infections came along. Several times infectious deseases swept the school and at the time medicine didn't have much to help.


Even the children who were saved from the most severe deseases could not avoid being afflicted by chilbains.


Until 1809 the only source of heating the children had to warm up the huge flagged school rooms was a fire, but the children couldn't get nearer than 3 or 4 feet from it.


The gas lighting was only installed in 1838, therefore Mary had only candles and oil lamps to give her light while stitching.


Can you now imagine the circumstances in which this small girl stitched her wonderful sampler?


By stitching her sampler I have the feeling of bringing her back to life in a world of much better conditions.


1 comment:

Stitch Witch said...

I really liked the way you put it. I mean I can visualize Mary Wigham sitting and stitching in a cold and drafty poorly lit room. I never thought about the conditions under which she stitched. I mean it is obvious I just never thought of it. I am reading from your earlier posts forward so there may be more comments.....