The year of our Lord seventeen hundred and twenty-three was such a long time ago. Almost three hundred years have passed since Ann Gardner of Pilerton Priery (sic) completed her sampler on the eighteenth day of Desember (sic). Ann did not record her age, but we suspect that she was a very young child and that this was her first attempt at stitching a sampler. She diligently recorded the alphabet although her spelling certainly needed improvement. She stitched seventeen birds and twenty-seven crowns which she scattered around the border of her sampler.
A priory is a Christian convent or monastery which is supervised by a prior who is considered as lower in rank than an abbess or an abbot. A priory is a subsidiary to an abbey but serves the same function, providing a place of living and worship for monks, priests and nuns. The word comes from the medieval Latin word “priora” which means monastery. Ann did not live in a priory nor was she taught by nuns.
In the county of Warwickshire, seven miles from Stratford-upon-Avon and east of the Cotswold Hills, lies the village of Pillerton Priors. One mile to the east, is its sister village of Pillerton Hersey. Together, they are known as “The Pillertons.” The village is in the heart of England and is surrounded by glorious countryside.
There are still Gardners farming in Pillerton Priors today at Sandpits Farm. The early parish records are filled with numerous entries relating to the Gardner family. Regrettably we were unable to find our Ann among them. It is possible that Ann was a diminutive of her baptismal name, we found a few Hannah’s and a Mary Ann. The churchyard contains several ancient headstones with the Gardner name. We also found a reference to a parochial charity which “expended” coals for the poor on New Year’s Day from the interest on a bequest from Thomas Gardner.
Stitch Count: 210 x 238
Stitches used: Cross Stitch over 2 threads, Algerian eyelets, satin stitch, double running stitch and buttonhole stitch. Due to its size this is an ideal project for confident beginners wishing to take the next step.
Suggested Linen: Legacy Linen in Sycamore Seedpod (model) or Corn Tassell
Threads: 11 colours with conversions given for DMC and Au Ver a Soie in soie d’Alger, Surfine and 100.3