Serving the communities of Bures St Mary and Bures Hamlet


St Osyth was only a talented Woodworker and Model Maker
but her skills at Embroidery were also exemplary.

Some of her work can be found today at the
(the Embroiderers' Guild Collection)
Bucks County Museum,
Church St,
HP20 2QP



Embroidered wooden box approx 11.5" x 15" x 12"
circa 1934/9
Deep wooden box with three lift out trays each with
separate padded compartments.
Mrs St Osyth Wood

St Osyth inside Parsonage Hall

This is the actual box as seen on the right with
St Osyth inside Parsonage Hall.






The inside lid shows an Elizabethan Scene based on Parsonage Hall.

The front panel shows Lord Burleigh, Walsingham and Gresham

The underside of the central lid bears the cross stitch inscription:
This box was planned and worked by Osyth Wood of Bures Essex for her own pleasure and to show her gratitude to all those English needlewomen who made a great tradition. July 1934 to June 1939’.

The images on the box are based on historical themes, particularly of the Tudor period, but it also contains many personal allusions.

The lid of the box and all four sides have embroidered insets of dark red velvet, and a goldwork border with goldwork cartouches on cream silk containing embroidered portraits of wellknown 16th-century Elizabethans, all copies of painted portraits.

The red velvet and cream damask are the same fabrics used for the academic robes of Exeter College, Oxford - Dr Wood's alma mater. The embroidered portraits are in silk with metal thread details in long and short, satin, and chain stitches with areas of detached buttonhole stitch. The cartouches are couched metal thread with various gold purls and twists outlined with red thread matching the velvet.

Depicted on the lid, Mary, Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I and Anne Boleyn are all copies of portraits in the National Portrait Gallery in London.
The likeness to the original portrait of Mary,Queen of Scots is very striking, right down to the stitched blackwork detail on the chemise (see page 16). Perhaps it was this 'royal' connection that caught the eye of one of Queen Mary's ladies-in-waiting who saw Mrs Wood's work in an arts and crafts exhibition in Blakeney, Norfolk in the 1950s.

Queen Mary subsequently invited her to lunch at Sandringham and she was requested to bring her embroidery. It is thought that she may have worked an embroidery similar to the portrait of Elizabeth I for Queen Mary.

Using similar techniques to those for the portraits on the lid, the front of the box shows three Elizabethan statesmen, Sir Thomas Gresham (1519-79), merchant & financier, founder of Gresham College and the Royal Exchange; William Cecil, Lord Burghley (1521-98), Lord High Treasurer; and Sir Francis Walsingham (1532-90).

Other figures represented are courtiers Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, Walter Raleigh, Philip Sidney, William Shakespeare, Francis Drake and Richard Grenville, whose images are also accurate depictions of portraits.



In 1952, St Osyth was invited to take tea with Queen Mary at Sandringhanm.
She took along this box, but before departing she sold it to her housekeeper/companion for 1d so she was able to say it wasn`t hers and that it wasn`t free to give away.

On the lid of this box was a embroided picture of Queen Elizabeth 2nd.
Queen Marys Secretary later wrote to St Osyth saying that Queen Mary would very much like her to embroider Elizabeth so she could hang on the wall.

St Osyth within a very short space of time supplied this embriodery and consequently receive a letter of thanks from the Queens Secretary.

<<<<< copy of part of the original set of letters

Mrs St Osyth Wood
St Osyth smoking a pipe whilst embroidering, accompanied by
Madge Anderson Brock who was companion to Mrs. Wood's mother.

This could possibly be the embroidery that St Osyth is working on in the left photo

circa 1947

Embroiderers' Guild "Stitch" magazine

Chris Berry on behalf of the Guild has published this article about St Osyth`s embriodery skills in their "Stitch" magazine.



The stitching spells out from the top:-

Thomas Wood, My Dear Love Cupid


Research by Alan Beales/.webmaster
Anne Haigh, EG Truste, Bucks Coutny Museum
updated 04/02/23