The Alderney Tapestry A True Community Project

From the outset the aim was to create a Finale that would look as though it could have been the original ending.  The Alderney Tapestry is stitched on the same type of linen as the original and with the same sort of wools in the same colours and follows the same style as the original with the history of the times depicted in the central panel and with upper and lower borders which sometimes show mythical animals similar to those found in the Bayeux Tapestry and sometimes show images which augment or comment on the images in the central panel.
HRH The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall putting their stitch in helped by Kate Russell and Moira Sleeman

There are, however, two Channel Island references, one of which is an anachronism that would definitely indicate that this could never have been the original work.  One of these is the inclusion in the upper border of Wace, the author of the Roman de Rou which tells the history of the Normans from the settlement of Normandy through to the reign of Henry II.  Its importance for historians is that it states that William sailed to England with 696 ships.  Wace says that he knows this, because his father, who was with William at the time, told him so.  This might just have been possible, but Wace was writing in the 1170s, and the Tapestry, it is believed, was created within 20 years of the Battle of Hastings.  His inclusion in this work is because he was born in Jersey.  The second Channel Island reference is shown in the lower border near the end where the animals representing Guernsey (donkey), Jersey (toad) and Alderney (puffin) are shown being encircled by the English lion’s tail to represent that this was how the Channel Islands became English possessions.

The work is now nearing completion and has included the stitching of nearly 400 people, islanders and visitors alike, from all the inhabited continents of the world.  They have ranged in age from 4 – 99.  Several people with vision problems have added their stitches, including one young woman who is totally blind.  In addition, the inspiration of Jan Messent, who granted permission for the adaptation of some images of her own creation to be used, the assistance of expertise from people in Oxford, arranged through Jane Bliss, and others locally who have assisted with carpentry skills and physical assistance when required has greatly aided the project.

The Alderney Bayeux Tapestry Finale project was conceived of as a community project from the outset.  Its purpose was to provide an unusual activity for Islanders and visitors to Alderney, an opportunity to bring new people into the Library and, especially, a vehicle for acquainting people, especially the children of Alderney, with the events that led to the Channel Islands becoming English possessions, though at the time it may have seemed more that England became a Norman and, therefore, Channel Islands possession.


One Comment Add yours

  1. This is really impressive work as you have used the same type of linen as the original with the same sort of wools in the same colors and follows the same style as the original. I would like to see the work after the completion for sure so kindly share it after completion.

Leave a Reply