Friday 17 July 2009

The Mary Wigham Story

This is where it all started. Mary's grandfather, Cuthbert Wigham, converted to Quakerism and gave land for this Friend's Meeting House in Coanwood (once Cornwood) in Northumberland. His daughter-in-law, Hannah Wigham, was the much loved Principal Mistress of Ackworth School who made gingerbread for the scholars. And your Mary Wigham was Hannah Wigham's daughter.
So many of you have asked to hear more about Mary Wigham and now I am really pleased to give you a four page, comprehensive and compelling history of Mary Wigham and her family by Donna Dzierlenga, an independent scholar who is member of Live Oaks Friends Meeting in Houston, Texas. This history is available to you, to your guild members and customers as a free download. You can either click the image on this post, or on the side-bar to your right to obtain the download. Please may I ask you to consider a kind donation of $1 if you enjoy this article. Your donation will mean we can support researchers in these difficult times, keep the stories alive, and present you with more histories to enjoy. I am so excited for you to read this, I hope you love it!


  1. What a wonderful present! All my sincere thanks to Mrs Dzierlenga for her work, and thank you again for all the time you spend for our enlightenment.

  2. How wonderful to read Mary's history & biography. It makes Mary even more 'real' to read about her family & life.

    Is there any knowledge of who the initals on her sampler belonged to?

    Thanks to the wonderful work of Mrs Dzierlenga & to all how work to preserve history!

    Pam R.

  3. Thank you for adding to our knowledge of Mary by giving us access to her biography & family history.
    This has been an amazing experiene in sharing one woman's story & accomplishements with the world of stitching.

  4. Initials on samplers are always tricky as they could be aunts and uncles by marriage and cousins. However, we can hazard that HT just under Mary's name is Hannah Thistlethwaite - her mother's maiden name and further down there is JW for John Wigham her father. There is also HW for Hannah her sister. Are the intials ending with 'H' related to the Hustler family? I am afraid as yet we do not know. But what is interesting is that the very presence of these initials suggest links to the North of England or Scottish tradition of including densely populated ranks of paired initials on samplers.

  5. Thanks alot for all those precisions.foundest love Couson

  6. Jacqueline,

    This is most interesting. I have printed out the story, and know that I will definitely enjoy it.

    Wendy Sheppard

  7. Jacqueline (and Donna),

    Thank you for the story of Mary. I haven't had the opportunity to read it yet, but I've printed it out to read on the plane later this week.

    It will be so wonderful to read about Mary. I always believe that there is more to an embroidered piece than just the stitches.

    When I get my sampler framed, I'll have my framer put a plastic pocket on the back of the frame where I can insert "Mary's" story.

    Thank you.