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Quilt from Gunnerside, Swaledale, North Yorkshire.


Quilt from Gunnerside, North Yorkshire.

This wholecloth quilt was made by Elizabeth Rutter nee Hugill. Born in 1859 in Wensleydale, in 1880 she married Thomas Rutter, a lead-miner at St Francis Level, Gunnerside, Swaledale. Later he became a tenant farmer at Winterings, a very isolated farm high above Gunnerside where their two children were born.

After his return to the village from abroad, their son James bought them Westview, a cottage in Gunnerside, which became the family home for several generations.

The quilt was bought from Elizabeth’s Great Granddaughter, Pauline, who as a child can remember the quilt being one of several in use on the big feather beds at Westview.

Looking carefully at the quilting patterns on both the back and the front – the front has a very simple wineglass pattern whereas the back has considerably more quilting – see the photo of the tracing which shows the lovely original pattern layout.

This would suggest that it is an older quilt that has had a spot of ‘Make do and Mend’ and has had a newer fabric placed over the perhaps, very worn front. This has then been quilted again with the wineglass pattern, possibly by the same person as the stitching is similar to the original. A very small piece of a previous quilt fabric can be seen in a small tear.

The back has several patched areas and the front, although mainly one piece has been made up to size with various floral pieces – a lead-miners life was very hard and wages low so everything had to be used and reused.