H. Buhanan

Scottish Samplers

H. Buhanan


Bo'ness, West Lothian


Regrettably this sampler is not in great condition and has numerous difficulties, starting with her name. On the sampler, her father’s name is quite clearly stitched as Andrew Bwhanan. Scotland has no such viable surname, or any variation thereof. Our conclusion - we think it must be Buchanan. It is the only viable name that is close. There is a fair amount of damage in this verse section, but her father’s name is clear. The section also includes Mrs H., her teacher, and her name.

Along side the verse cartouche are two Linlithgow-specific medallions, including the legendary Black Bitch. As with M. Duncan, the text reads (left) "MY FRUIT IS FIDELITY TO GOD AND THE KING" and (right) "I HAVE POWER TO DEFEND MYSELF & OTHERS." Along the top of the piece are two very traditional floral bands, one with pansies and another with roses. On the rose band there was not enough room for a fourth unit so the design was adapted and contains a single tulip. The bottom of the sampler has the traditional pedimented house with a fenced lawn. There is an Adam and Eve with an apple tree on one side and the fountain of youth with birds on the other side. There are numerous family initials (AB,IS, IB, HB, IB, AB, HM, HB, MH) and a few other plants and birds. 

In the lower left corner is a shepherd with his sheep and sheepdog. Even though the sampler is not in good condition it is easy to see the shepherd is dressed in his tartan!

Size (W x H): 12 x 12 7/8 inches

Stitches: Cross, double running, satin, chain

Media: Silk on fine linen


There is a family from Bo’ness with Andrew, a cooper, and his wife Jean Smith, married in 1771. Bo’ness is 3.5 miles from Linlithgow. Children listed are twins Jean & David (1772), Margaret #1 (1774), Elizabeth #1 (1776), twins Janet & Katherine (1777), Margaret #2 (1779), Elizabeth #2 (1781), James (1783), Isabella (1785) and Andrew (1787). Needless to say, two sets of twins was highly unusual! Everything lines up perfectly except we can find no record of a female child with the first name beginning in "H" baptized between James and Isabella, as is indicated on the initials on the sampler. 

Mother Jean died in 1791 and father Andrew died in 1800. We have no sign of the family until the 1851 Scotland census, when Elizabeth, James and Andrew are recorded as all living together, all unmarried, in Laurieston, Stirlingshire. The occupations of all three indicate they are independently wealthy.


Andrew Bwhanan my father (pay?)
ded (pwrchar) that which I have (had?)
y manny ? whisdom he spn
t but edication is borcellen
Mrs H H Bwhanan

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(This sampler was added to the site on February 15, 2013)