Abiah Dickinson sampler
Sampler by Abiah Dickinson, 1714

Woodfin sampler Davison sampler
Sampler by Mary Woodfin, 1822 Sampler by Mary Davison, 1787

This is one of the largest and more important collections in the UK with many fine examples. The earliest sampler in the collection (CBE33) dates from 1714 and was stitched by Abiah Dickinson and is complete with text “Love the Lord and he will be a Tender Father unto thee. This work in hand my friends may have when I am dead and laid in grave”. The latest sampler (1992/8) is dated 1992 and was stitched by Violet Sythes (the wife of Des Sythes who was at one time our photographic curator) and combines the elements of a traditional sampler with a modern interpretation of Whitby. The collection contains a wide variety of styles. Many of the samplers have local connections and are part of Whitby’s history and heritage, particularly of the Quakers (Abiah Dickinson, mentioned above, was the daughter of Arthur and Jane Dickinson of Whitby, who were amongst the earliest followers of George Fox). Many samplers bear names that are still local today, such as Lyth (1992/5 as a memorial to the death of the donors great great-grandfather at sea), Scarfe (1995/9.2), Eliza Marwood Wilkinson (CBE52), Waring (CBE36), Noble (CBE57, CBE58) and Whisson (1992/10). The latter sampler worked by Susannah, aged 10 at St Michael’s School in Whitby, can be traced to a local family owning a well-known bistro, with family scattered from Whitby to New Zealand. This family originated in Whissonsett and were falconers to the baron who ruled Norfolk in the aftermath of the Norman invasion of 1066 and their name is mentioned in the Domesday book.

violet sythes sampler
Sampler by Violet Sythes, 1992

Some of the samplers have been charted so that purchasers can embroider their own. A catalogue is available to view in the museum. See also chart prices.