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Mary Frances Heaton


In this sampler, Mary gives us her recollections of events leading up to her committal to the Asylum.

Many of the details in her account of her appearance in front of the Mayor of Doncaster are confirmed in contemporary reports in the local newspaper.

'Mrs Seymour' is how Mary refers to herself; other samplers show she believes she had a relationship with a former employer, Lord Seymour.

                                                                                             British Government

                                                                                      Doncaster Sep 7 1837 Thursday


Lord Nugent & Life                Treason against the State              Welsh Paupers & Death

1840                                                                                                   1840


In its blackest, most heart sickening, most confirmed, most important, most unequivocal, and most extraordinary form, whereby the world is reduced to a blank, and the brevity of human life the only consolation the heart can ever know, such its dire effects.


Mrs Seymour deposes on oath thus, I had 4 excellent teachers for French before I was 21. My father being a good French scholar was desirous about it, the last, a professor, took especial care to inform everyone that he had had the honor to read Raçine to George 4, when Prince Regent, fm him, acquired a good knowledge of the author of ‘Brittanica’ etc. but knew nothing of the other Raçine until 1830 when I read his ‘Esther’, and referring to the old text, there traced a most curious resemblance between 3 of its foremost passages, and 3 of the most remarkable events of my life.


The office of ‘Mayor of Doncaster’, was filled in 1837 by a fellow for whose crimes the punishment awarded to the assassin of Henry 4 wou’d not be disproportioned, and I solemnly believe that the British Government will be of the opinion shou’d I live to relate my story. Having purposely & distinctly remarked in the presence of half a dozen persons including the the Mayor that I wished the vicar would submit to arbitration, my claim against him for music lessons given to his daurs regularly twice a week during the years 1834 -1835.


Great was my astonishment when 2 or 3 weeks afterwards, the mayor said to me with an air of the utmost misery & mauvaise honte, “you have no means of subsistence” my first impulse was laughter, but on reflection, actuated by the most noble motives, I addressed to him a few words dated Esther 2.16 and signed as below.

If I should be told that because I was not known to him I had no right to expect that he should allow me to explain myself, my answer is “That at all events there are 2 point on which he ought to be strictly examined”, these, viewed as precedent, are of such import, that vols might be devoted to the subject, they are, 1st the source from whence the fellow obtained his information concerning the poverty of a woman who had been 15 years mistress of her own castle 2ndly the right whereby, & the group whereupon, he refused me half an hour in which to procure bail in the street where the most friendly of men had lived for more than 30 years.

Throwing to the clerks the fatal letter, intended for his private information, thro’ them it passes to the canaille, and the drunken wife of a ranter parson, countenanced, as I have reason to suspect, by “Sir Oracle de Twopenny”, takes upon herself to dispose of the private affairs of a nobleman’s governess.

                                         Time’s great periods                                           

The three lustres

Esther Aurelia of the Trinity

“Expression’s last receding Ray”

Fm 1837                                To 1851

Lord Morpeth and my last ball

Dec 1834

                                                              Melbourne                              Morpeth                                  Duncannon

                                                               DONCASTER                        BEVERLY                               WAKEFIELD 

              [This lower row of place names is embroidered upside down, reading from left to right if the sampler was turned through 180 degrees]

It's now 18 weeks since the world changed and Carrie reflects on the impact of not being able to work, missing her family and the power of a good cry.

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