Sunday, 29 July 2018

Joe The Quilter

Joe the Quilter's Cottage, Beamish

Quilting has long been a traditional craft in the North East of England with the famous Durham or North Country Quilting.

I have a Durham quilt which I inherited from my mother in law after she died. Sadly I know nothing about who made it or when as she never showed it to me. I'll do a post about it once I manage to take some decent photographs of it. It's so large I haven't found a way to take them.

Beamish Museum has a lot of quilts and recently a new cottage has been built or rather re created honouring Joe the Quilter, a famous quilter in the North who was murdered in 1826.

Joe the Quilter's cottage was in Warden near Hexham in Northumberland and the team from Beamish researched the site and recreated the cottage in Beamish. 

I had a half an hour to spare last week when we were doing our quilting at Beamish so dashed across to take a look at the cottage. Apologies for the quality of the photographs. I hadn't realised that we would be visiting the cottage so didn't take my camera. I must get to grips with the camera on my phone one of these days. 

Musicians playing outside the cottage. Note the little puppet the fiddler was keeping going while he played. Multi tasking!

The interior was bigger than I expected but just a single room for living in!

Behind that wattle & daub wall was where Joe kept his chickens! 

Wonder where Joe kept his quilting frame as it would have been pretty big.

There was a small sample of Durham quilting in the window area. Main problem was getting a photo with all the other people doing the same thing. Tourists!

Outside the cottage was a notice letting people know they could take part in an investigation into the murder!

We took a quick look into the church (another building taken down & built up in Beamish). There were some quilts and some boards showing activities relating to the cottage & quilting.

Small pieces of blue & white pottery were found when the archaeological dig was done and they were copied here by a local textile designer and artist.

She then designed a lovely cotton fabric using her water colour print.

Also in the church was a locally created new quilt. Couldn't get the whole thing into a single photo.

 I particularly like this square of the little town of Alnmouth.

This isn't a very comprehensive representation of what it's really like at the cottage as I only had about 30 minutes to see it. 

There's a lovely video telling the whole story of Joe the Quilter's cottage here.


  1. Love your post today. Thanks
    Hoping all is well with you.

    1. Thank you Patsy, all's well here even the summer weather. We live in the North so we haven't had the awful heatwave of the rest of the country. Just a pleasant 23-25 centigrade.

  2. What joy! Love all the images and the stories. Can you imagine living under those conditions. It looks happy and sweet but it had to be very difficult back in the day.

    1. Oh yes must have been a hard life & he was murdered too bless him.

  3. When I read the title I thought it said "Joe the Quitter" and I thought, "Oh what have I quit now!" then realised that of course not everything is about ME. Lol

    So why was Joe murdered? For sewing a quilt some one didn't like? I like all your photos. I will never complain about my house again. At least I don't share my bedroom with chickens.

    1. You always make me laugh Joey, you have a real talent for it. "They" think he was murdered for his quilt money. Maybe he saved it, he certainly didn't spend it. Maybe he knew who was robbing him. A really sad story for a chap who was very well liked, obviously not by everybody!

  4. I think your photos turned out great. I loved getting a peak into your adventure! All quilts are special...I think!

  5. Lovely to hear from you again Brenda. Hope you are all well. Your quilt photos are fabulous. I've never been to a quilt show. Unfortunately there's a nice one in the last week of the school holidays this month but I can't go as I have my granddaughter. She might like them but it would be a risk. I would love to visit the American Museum in Britain. It has some fantastic quilts but it is in Bath which is a long journey from where we live. Maybe one day!


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