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St Matthew’s and the Charter Tapestry Panel

Friday 4 December 2015

In 1189 King Richard 1 granted a Charter to the Borough of Northampton. To celebrate the 825th Anniversary in 2014, Northampton Borough Council commissioned a tapestry panel to be created. The tapestry was designed by local artist Chris Fiddes in the form of a triptych, the centre having one large panel and two smaller panels, and the two sides each having four smaller panels, to be produced separately by individuals and groups – and St Matthew’s Craft Group was invited to stitch one of these. The design changed slightly since Chris’ original sketch, but the layout remained the same.

The group was pleased to take on the project, though with a great deal of trepidation when we saw the beautiful linen and wool we would be using to stitch our panel. We were told we could be as creative as we liked although keeping within the drawing on the linen. After our nerves had settled down and we looked and looked again at what we had taken on, we began stitching. Margaret Burgess was one of the main stitchers with Joy Riley also doing a great deal; Mary Wallis did a reasonable amount, mostly the walls. Other stitchers in the Craft Group contributed and Fr Nicholas, invited to come along and see how we were progressing, also had a go and stitched part of the stonework, doing a very good job! It would be fair to say it was a challenge and at times we felt daunted by the amount of work, but we completed our panel on time and it looked really lovely.

It had been hoped that the entire Charter Tapestry would be ready by the end of last year, but the enormity of the task had delayed production. Our panel was brought to church for everyone to view before it went off to be added to the tapestry. The Charter Tapestry was unveiled by the Mayor of Northampton and Councillor Penelope Flavell in the Court Room of the Guildhall on Wednesday 18 November 2015 and is now on display for everyone to view.


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