Judith Hayle (1649?-1706), a needlework teacher, was buried at St Stephen's church in 1706. It has not been possible to identify her grave. Judith, who was baptised in 1649 and lived most of her adult life in the parish of St Stephen's, was widowed in 1685. Her occupation in itself was not unusual but her importance to experts and enthusiasts here and abroad lies in the fact that she is the only identified 17th Century English teacher of needlework.
This was an essential part of a girl's education. A group of samplers, worked from 1691 to 1711 by young women aged twelve to eighteen, is the largest known from this period. All identify Judith or her daughter, Rebecca Thomson's guidance as their name or initials appear in the work. The samplers can be found in public and private collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum. Judith's will, and the inventory of her possessions
after she died, show that she provided well for her family. The inventory also shows that she ran a shop, possibly specialising in millinery, from her home.
If you would like to know more about Judith, Rebecca and their pupils then see Edwina Ehrman's book, The Judith Hayle Samplers, published in 2007 by Needleprint but now out of print.
Judith Hayle sampler from the V&A collections