Margaret Ferrier

Scottish Samplers

Margaret Ferrier


Arbirlot, Angusshire


This late 18th century sampler shows the transition from the long, narrower band-style samplers to the more pictorial and rectangular samplers of the 19th century.

We start with a big WOW - the full rigging, sails, flag and anchor are just some of the amazing details on the ship stitched on this beautiful sampler. Combined with the rich sheen of the silk thread, it gives the vessel even more prominence. An interesting quirk to the ship is that it is stitched at an angle, giving the distinct impression of being tossed along the waves. Note the flag of Scotland, the Saltire, flying proudly. Surrounding the ship, Margaret has stitched a variety of spot motifs including crowns, trees and flowers. Also included on the sampler are familial initials (IF, BF, IF, MB, SC, BB, RB, IN, RB, BF, MF, GF, AF) and an elaborate curlique alphabet. Along the very top are two additional alphabets and some numerals and an undulating stylized floral band.

Size (W x H): 8 1/4 x 14 1/4 inches

Stitches: Cross, eyelet, long armed cross, double running, satin, darning, outline

Media: Silk and wool on linen


James Ferrier and Margaret Butchart were married 5 October 1764 in Arbirlot, Angusshire. Margaret Butchart was the daughter of Alexander Butchart and Issobel Fothringham, and was christened 15 December 1736, also in Arbirlot. Their daughter Margaret was baptized 22 January 1769 in Arbirlot; James' occupation is nicely accounted as schoolmaster. Siblings included James (1765), Barbara (1766), Marjory (1772), George (1775) and Anne (1776).

A death record from Arbirlot reads, "James Ferrier, after being Parochial Schoolmaster here for 65 years died Nov 16 1827 at the advanced Age of 88 Years." We found Margaret in the 1841, 1851 and 1861 Scotland census records. She never married and in each case she is living by independent means. Margaret's death is recorded in 1866 as a result of senile decay at the age of 97. Clearly longevity was a family trait. 

As to Margaret's siblings, Anne married William Nicol, joiner, and died in 1876 aged 93. Barbara married Robert Butchart, wright, and died in 1824 aged 58. Marjory married Robert Matthew, weaver, and died in 1848 aged 76. We were unsuccessful in locating information on her brothers. 



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