Mary Wilson

Scottish Samplers

Mary Wilson


Stewarton, North Ayrshire


Mary's sampler was done when she was 11 years old, and is a very interesting blend of delicate and lumpy. The central feature is a church, flanked by some very interesting trees and stags. There are several misspellings in her moral verses and signature. Our favorite is "shued" for "sewed". The signature includes the letters "irvn ch" which we believe indicates that the building depicted is Old Irvine Church. Irvine is the next town over from Stewarton. Several spot motifs fill the middle band, and include a wonderful peacock. A large and very stylized carnation band is across the top. The downward pointing flower is in fact a unique checkerboard object rather than a flower. All four sides of the sampler are bordered by a simple strawberry pattern.

Currently unframed and undergoing stabilization and conservation efforts.

Size (W x H): 16 3/4 x 22 1/4 inches

Stitches: Cross, alternating reverse cross, satin, running, double running

Media: Silk on linen


Mary was born 28 May 1786 the daughter of James Wilson and Janet Gray in the parish of Stewarton, North Ayrshire.

Mary married William Black, a wool spinner and bonnet maker at Nether Robertland Mill in Stewarton in 1810. The 1851 Scotland Census indicates that William and Mary Black still lived in Stewarton, still owned the Mill, and had at least one child, Janet, who was 40 at the time of the census. Further research shows a granddaughter, Mary W. Paxton aged four years, living with them.

William and Mary are buried in the Stewarton churchyard - William died 29 January 1859 aged 70; Mary died 15 April 1861 aged 64 years. Buried with them are daughters Janet Dickie (d. 1899 aged 88) and Margaret Currie (died 1901 aged 84 years).


Shued bY me Mary WIlsonn in the Year of our LOrd
1797 irvn CH

Left verse:
such pity as a father hatch
unto his children dear
Like pity mows the Lord to such
as worship him in fear

Right verse:
for he remembers we are dust
and be our frame well knows
frail mon his days are like the gras
as flowr in field he grows

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