Appeal for information on sampler

The sampler made by Margaret W. Millar of Forfar.
The sampler made by Margaret W. Millar of Forfar.

The Honorary Secretary of Forfar and District Historical Society is hoping readers can help shed some light on the history of a sampler.

Doug Milne contacted the Dispatch and Herald after he received an e-mail from a lady who is about to sell the item.

Marcia Riddington contacted Doug in the hope he can find some information regarding the sampler, which was worked by a Margaret W Millar of Forfar in 1834.

It has the initials of Margaret’s parents and grandparents worked into the design.

Marcia writes: “I came across the embroidered sampler recently and, before I sell it on the open market, I would love to know if this relates to anyone who is still in Forfar and whether they may like to buy it. I have my great grandmother’s sampler, and I know how lovely it is to have this kind of treasure.”

Marcia has asked Doug’s advice on how to track down the family of Margaret W. Millar.

If you can help contact Marcia by email on or you Doug Milne on

A (needlework) sampler is a piece of embroidery produced as a demonstration or test of skill in needlework. It often includes the alphabet, figures, motifs, decorative borders and sometimes the name of the person who embroidered it and the date.

The oldest surviving samplers were constructed in the 15th and 16th centuries. As there were no pre-printed patterns available for needleworkers, a stitched model was needed. Whenever a needlewoman saw a new and interesting example of a stitching pattern, she would quickly sew a small sample of it onto a piece of cloth - her ‘sampler’.