Bayeux embroidery comes to Waltham Abbey

A work of art that is an amazing achievement will be coming to King Harold Day this autumn.   It is an embroidery of the Bayeux Tapestry, (which is itself actually an embroidery).

The talented needlewoman who has produced the embroidery is Annette Banks, who lives in East Finchley.   Annette spent a lot of time in hospital as a child, and that was when she started embroidery.   As well as the Bayeux Tapestry, she has worked other large historical pieces, including one of Henry VIII.

It took twenty years to work the Bayeux embroidery, which is 56 feet long, and covers the time from Earl Harold Godwinson’s becoming an adviser to Edward the Confessor until after his defeat and death at the Battle of Hastings, and William of Normandy’s coronation at Westminster Abbey.   One way in which it does differ from the original Bayeux Tapestry is that the descriptive wording is in English, whereas the original is in Latin.

Last year Annette had considerable national press and television coverage of the project, because she wanted the embroidery to be displayed.   She has taken it around to schools, and it has also been shown at an exhibition at Olympia.   We contacted Annette to ask if it could be displayed at King Harold Day, and she kindly agreed to show it at the event on 13 October.

In May Annette brought the embroidery to the Abbey Church to decide where best to show it, and when rolled out it stretched the entire length of the side aisle.

Now Annette has worked an extension of another four feet, making 60 feet in all, which has been done specially for King Harold Day and shows Edith Swan-Neck, Harold’s mistress, identifying his body on the battlefield and bringing it back to Waltham for burial.

This is a truly amazing work of art.   Annette describes herself as an obsessive needlewoman, but as well as her talents with the needle she has put so much research into the story of the tapestry, the history, and into getting the English translation right.   We are honoured to have the embroidery on display at King Harold Day, and are particularly pleased that Annette will be with us to talk about the work.

Published in: on September 25, 2007 at 11:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

More Helpers Needed for King Harold’s Army!

The King Harold Day organizers are appealing to residents of the area and others for help on King Harold Day.

This major event in Waltham Abbey is now in its fourth year, and attracts attendances of approximately 4,500 people.   There are many attractions in the Abbey Gardens, the Abbey Church and Churchyard.

But it is organized by a small group of six people.   That is quite sufficient in the months leading up to the event, but many more people are needed on the actual day.   Some members of the church and other friends are persuaded to help, but more are needed.

The sort of help required is acting as stewards, helping at the various admission points, helping to put up gazebos, tents and direction signs, helping with sales in the merchandising tent, and acting as message takers and runners.

We are not asking anyone to sit around at endless committee meetings or get involved in a lot of work in putting the event together.   What we need is people who are prepared to give us a few hours of help on Saturday 13 October.   People who we can rely on to turn up, and get stuck in with whatever needs doing so that we open on time and keep everything going during the day.

The opening hours are from 10.00am to 4.00pm, and that is when we want help with stewarding and admissions, but we also want people from 8.00am for putting up signs, etc, and for the hour or so after we close to help pack everything away.

We would be most grateful for any volunteers, and can promise them a busy but very entertaining day.

Anyone who is prepared to help should in the first instance contact Isabelle at Philpott’s Tearooms in Church Street, Waltham Abbey, or, if they are not in Waltham Abbey, could telephone 07713 327380.

Published in: on September 6, 2007 at 10:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Saturday 13 October is King Harold Day

King Harold Day at Waltham Abbey will be on Saturday 13 October.

The medieval festival will be held in the Abbey Church and Churchyard and the Abbey Gardens.

The event begins at 10.00 am, and ends at 4.00 pm.

Admission costs £2.50 per adult, £1.50 for senior citizens, with accompanied children free of charge.

Published in: on September 1, 2007 at 2:08 pm  Leave a Comment