East Riddlesdon Hall near Keighley in West Yorkshire is the site of a medieval hall. It is perhaps not conincidental that archeologists have identified the line of a Roman road crossing the River Aire just below the house. Riddlesdon even got a mention in the Domesday Book as belonging to a Saxon called Gospatrick– so no nouveau riche families trying to making their home older than it actually is here then! The land and hall came into the ownership of the de Montalt family , was split due to marriages and then passed into the hands of the Paslew family – through the marriage of Maude and Robert.
In the 1400s the Paslew family added a farm on the side of the hall. Other families made their extensions and the wealth of the hall ebbed and flowed during the centuries that followed. In the sixteenth century Robert Rishworth brought some of the property and married to acquire the rest. The remodelling continued. East Riddleson was extended and subdivided before becoming a tenanted farm demonstrating that halls do not always follow an upwards trajectory nor do their owners always succeed in leaving the gentry in an upwards direction!
So the objects for this particular December posting? Seventeenth century spot samplers containing butterflies, beasties and the odd basilisk as well as modern examples of blackwork – a counted embroidery style popularised by Katherine of Aragon. Samplers turn up in the accounts of Elizabeth of York but it isn’t until the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that history provides many examples. Some of them, beautiful intricate examples, are worked by girls as young as eight or nine. The ones that have never been framed are as vibrant as the day they were finished. And I must admit that I do love exploring stately stacks where there are plenty of examples of different kinds of needlework. One of these days I’m going to stitch my own basilisk!