Yalding, Kent, England, 1814
Signed, “Mercy Kemp Yalding, Kent Aged 14 Years” and dated 1814, this is a fine little sampler. The verse, “Jesus is our God and Saviour / Guide and Counsellor and Friend / Bearing all our misbehavior / Kind and loving to the end,” is from a hymn that was popular in the period. A finely stitched checkerboard basket of fruit is flanked by flowering branches and other motifs. An alphabet is stitched across the very top of the sampler.
Yalding is a small village in Kent, about 5 miles from Maidstone; there has been a settlement there since medieval times. A wonderful stone bridge, about 450 feet long and constructed in the 1400s, remains the longest surviving medieval bridge in Kent and is considered an historic site.
Mercy was the daughter of Jude and Susannah (Sharp) Kemp who were married on June 19, 1800 in Yalding at St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s Church, also an historic site as the building was begun in the 13th century. Mercy was born on March 28, 1801, and baptized at the same church. In 1829, she married William Edlow, a harness-maker and saddler with a business on High Street, in the town of Kent. They had at least three children, born between 1830 and 1834.
The sampler was worked in silk on wool and is in excellent condition. It has been conservation mounted and is in a late 19th frame.