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Roberds and Kempston, Wroxton, Oxfordshire, c1745

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ArgyllGran Report 23 Sep 2013 12:24

My cousin has a sampler embroidered by Elisabeth Roberds around 1745.
It says:

Elisabeth Roberds ended this sampler July the 18, 1745.
Larnt by S Kempston at Wroxton.

We have been unable to find any mention of a likely Elisabeth/Elizabeth Roberds/Roberts/Robards, nor of S Kempston, on the readily available genealogy sites - FamilySearch, Ancestry, etc.
I've also contacted the Wroxton History Group, who have been unable to tell me anything about either of these names.
I posted a message about the sampler on CuriousFox about 3 years ago, but there's been no response

This query is purely out of curiosity. Although we have considerable Banbury-area (including Wroxton) ancestry through our maternal grandparents, the sampler is not a family heirloom, and there are no Roberds or Kempstons among our ancestors - as far as we know!

For interest, the rest of the sampler says (spelling is as on the sampler):

Proverbs XXXI vers 29 Many daughters have done vertuously but thou excellest them. All favour is deceitful and beauty is vain but a woman that feareth the Lord she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands and let her own works praise her in the gates.

If anyone can find anything about either Elisabeth Roberds or S Kempston, we would be very grateful.
Many thanks.


martynsue Report 23 Sep 2013 15:33

do you think that maybe Elizabeth could have been born in Banbury.
there is a Elizabeth roberds/ Roberts born 1722 in Banbury Gloucestershire,this would have made her 23 on completion of the sampler.

Banbury is only 3 miles from wroxton.

just a thought.

got this from family search.


ArgyllGran Report 23 Sep 2013 16:24

Thanks, Martynsue -

I would have thought she would have done the sampler at a younger age - ie while still at school or equivalent.

However, the sampler only says she was taught in Wroxton, not that she lived there, so it's possible she lived elsewhere.

Maybe she was a slow embroiderer!


SylviaInCanada Report 24 Sep 2013 01:41

it also only says she "ended this sampler July the 18, 1745".

It doesn't say how long she had been doing it.

What are the stitches like? Are they all childish, or do they seem as if done by a more experienced person?


ArgyllGran Report 24 Sep 2013 11:46

Hi, Sylvia -

I've PM'd you a photo of the sampler - see what you think!

It's hard to tell. A child in those days would have been taught embroidery from an early age, and teaching would likely be pretty strict, so she would certainly be better at it than a child today - not that children today can embroider in any case, generally speaking!


Potty Report 24 Sep 2013 11:54

The Old Post Office in Tintagel has several cross stitch samplers from the same period on display. They were done by girls aged from 9 to 13. They are absolutely amazing. The stitches are so tiny. I am quite an experienced cross stitcher and I would be pleased if I could do anything so well, so I don't think the quality of the stitches would necessarily indicate the age of the stitcher.


ArgyllGran Report 24 Sep 2013 11:58

Also PM'd photo to you, Potty.

How does it compare with the ones you mention? Stitching-wise, I mean - I know the sampler's generally in poor condition.


Potty Report 24 Sep 2013 12:22

Have looked at the photo and have told AG that it is a lot simpler than the ones I saw (which actually were done by girls aged 8 -15) and that I would think it was done by a child who was just learning.

If anyone is interested, you can see bits of some of the samplers on this site:


ArgyllGran Report 24 Sep 2013 12:44

Thanks for that, Potty.
Those are beautiful! I particularly like the "Bon Voyage" one.

If only Elisabeth Roberds had added her age!
Hers is certainly a simpler design, but the actual stitching could be comparable. As far as I'm aware, samplers were always done by teenagers or younger children, so I'm assuming Elisabeth was born around 1730-36

S Kempston's age is impossible to guess - she could have been a fairly young girl, or an old woman, or any age in between.

I don't suppose I'll ever know anything about either of them.


SylviaInCanada Report 24 Sep 2013 19:50

I didn't open the photo at first ...... it IS the first attachment I've had!!

Having looked at the photo, I have told AG the following ...........

To me, it looks as though done by an inexpert person ..................... the spacings between some of the words, and some of the numbers along the bottom, are uneven.

The "b" of Proverbs is out of whack in size with the other letters.

Now ........... was she a young girl, OR was she older and found such things hard?????

It's almost impossible to guess her age from that, but it certainly seems less well done than other samplers that I have seen.


ie, similar to Potty's view


ArgyllGran Report 24 Sep 2013 21:08

Thanks to you all.

I guess it'll remain just one of those insoluble mysteries!