Snitch Family History

Elizabeth's Sampler
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Elizabeth Snitch was the daughter of James Snitch of the village of Southhill and produced the sampler in 1779 at the age of 12 yrs.  This Sampler is an exceptional example of what the young ladies of the time produced to show their skills in embroidery.  Stitched in coloured silks and fine wool on a cream wool background.  The county boundary of Bedfordshire is boldly outlined using 4 rows of orange and yellow cross-stitch, the hundreds are clearly delineated and the main roads can be clearly seen.  The Sampler depicts a map of Bedfordshire which she must have worked from an original copy of the map.  Research into identifying the source of the map lead to the British Museum Library being contacted.  They revealed that Elizabeth Snitch may have connections with the Dilly family who also lived in Southhill, (Elizabeth's half brother Frank Snitch married Anne Dilley of Henlow) .  In the late 18th century, two of the three bachelor Dilly brothers were publishers in the City of London who not only first published Boswell's Life of Dr Johnson, but also published maps as well.  Eventually Greg Thomas, a map dealer, identified the map Elizabeth copied her sampler from, it was a Emanuel Bowen map dating from 1759.  Greg has given the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery a copy of the map which will be displayed alongside Elizabeth's Sampler

Marion Maule, a lady of wide interests and lecturer, attended a private viewing of the sale of map samplers.  She was drawn to the detail and quality of Elizabeth Snitch's sampler which depicted a map of the County of Bedfordshire showing the hundreds, halls and vicarages and a great deal more detail.  She was told that the sampler was going to America and responded to the owners that "No way over her dead body was this going to happen" and she was determined that the sampler would remain in the country, preferably Bedfordshire as it is of historical value in it's own right.  To ensure the map remains in this country a sum of 6,000 was to be raised to secure the sampler.  Donations were coming in and eventually Brian Howard of the Howard Family Trust purchased the Sampler with a view to loaning it to the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery in Bedford, it's home county where it is currently on display.   Should anyone wish to know more information on the Sampler then please contact Caroline Bacon at the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery, Castle Lane, Bedford, MK40 3RP, England, Telephone Number 01234 211222 

Frame Size 24 x 31 ins.  61 x 79 cm

Elizabeth was baptised on 8th April 1767 at All Saints Church, Southhill and her father, James was a butcher in the village, he was also a Church Warden.   Elizabeth married Robert Morris of Old Warden on 17th March 1793 by licence at All Saints Church, Southhill, Robert was a farmer in Old Warden where they both lived after their marriage.  Elizabeth had 3 children, Ann 1794-1823, Robert 1795-1819 and James 1797.  Elizabeth died on 23 May 1800 aged 33, she is buried in All Saints Churchyard, Southhill. 

James Snitch was married 3 times and Elizabeth was born to his second wife Rebecca.  His first wife Elizabeth Dennis died, 2-5-1765 and is buried in Blunham, it is thought at childbirth or soon after, as there is a record of a James Snitch, son of James & Elizabeth being buried, 19-6-1765 in All Saints, Southhill.  There appears to be no surviving children from this marriage. 

  Whitbread Organ With James Snitch Name on                         James Snitch Name on Organ Front                                James Snitch Bible

Rebecca had 4 children, Elizabeth 1767-1800, Rebecca 1768-1841, James 1770-1770 and William Underwood 1774-1774.   She died 30 May 1775 and was buried in All Saints Churchyard in Southhill on 1 June 1775 aged 40. Buried in the same grave with Rebecca are 2 of her children James Snitch who died in 1770 and William Underwood Snitch who died in 1774, they both died in their infancy and are commemorated on Rebecca's Gravestone.
Rebecca 1768-1841, daughter of James & Rebecca, was recorded in her own right as farming 4 acres from the Whitbread Estate in 1801 and her father James 147 acres of the Whitbread Estate at the same time.  Rebecca never married and died aged 72.
Elizabeth had 5 half siblings born to James 3rd wife Elizabeth, John 1788-1788, Frank 1790-1844, John 1791-1791, Edward 1792-1793 and Charles James 1796-1870.  Of these siblings only Frank and Charles James survived and Charles James became a doctor in Covent Garden  and died in 1870 aged 74.  

Frank, half brother to Elizabeth, married Ann Dilley of Henlow at All Saints Church, Southhill on 11 May 1819.  He became an important member of the community especially within the village of Southhill.  Frank was a Church Warden and took over from his father James.  He was a butcher, The Overseer of the Poor for the village of Southhill, Receiving Officer and Registrar of births, marriages & deaths for the Wixamtree Hundred.  Frank was also on the Jury List for 1830,  High Constable & Collector of Rates for Southhill and  Second Cornet, Lieutenant in Bedfordshire Dismounted Horse Artillery.

                                                                Photographs of Frank Snitch's Bibles in Southill Church

James's family contributed a great deal to the village of Southhill through his own efforts and those of his children and Elizabeth's Sampler is a worthy reminder of the family and the only item from the family that seems to have survived.



  2018 Pete Snitch, York, UK