Sunday, 20 March 2016

Local sampler history

Most samplers I have seen in New Zealand have their origins overseas (usually the UK).

So it's a pleasure to read 'New Zealand's Historic Samplers' by Vivien Caughley and see that there are actually a decent number of homegrown samplers.

One in particular caught my eye because it was very local to me.  It is by a young girl called Jane Tonks (age 8).  Unfortunately, she died aged 22 in 1867 and is buried in Bolton Street Cemetery in Wellington.

I decided to head out on a little mission to see if I could find the grave of Jane Tonks.  I was able to find some information online that I thought might help me pinpoint it, but it didn't lead me directly to it.

My small daughter (age 2 years 8 months) was getting restless (and noisy) as we wandered uphill and downhill around all the little paths trying to find the headstone.  I had almost conceded defeat when several rows back from the main path I noticed just one word... 'Tonks' on the back of a headstone. I went to investigate and there it was.

Unfortunately, the headstone does not mark the grave of Jane Tonks.  Her remains were disinterred from her original resting place in the 1960s to make way for the construction of the motorway.  Jane's remains now lie on the other side of the motorway in another part of the cemetery, along with the graves of many others.

If you are ever in Wellington and strolling through the historic Bolton Street Cemetery, stop at the monument for Christian Toxward from Denmark (located on the main path).  Step onto the grass and a couple of headstones back you will find the headstone of Jane Tonks, sampler stitcher! :-)

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