Sea creatures, Romans, kings and Royston Cave – you can see all these and more on the Royston Tapestry.
Jane Vincent, our Curator in 1989, dreamt up the Tapestry as a way to record Royston’s history. She was inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry. The project was brought to life by Honorary Curator Peter Ketteringham. He designed and built the frame that the tapestry was attached to and he advised on materials and construction. Planning the tapestry began in 1991 and the first stitch was made on 1st July 1993.
There are 15 scenes on one continuous length of linen, and each scene shows an important event in Royston’s history. Stitch coordinators Christina Renwick and Carole Kaszak have worked with over 30 local embroiders on the project. Local artists Dani Kaye and Martin Kaszak drew the scenes on paper before transferring them onto the linen. The stitchers then took over and brought each scene to life. Stitching a section a few centimetres square could take several hours due to the detail and the skill required. The team had a lot of patience.
Our Museum Assistant put the final stitch in on 29th October 2018. The Tapestry is over 24 metres long and shows 64 million years of Royston’s history. To prepare the Tapestry for display, a new border and backing material were added. The names of everyone involved with making the tapestry has been embroidered onto the linen so that their efforts will not be forgotten.
In July 2019, the completed Tapestry went on display for the first time. Over a week, nearly 2,000 visitors enjoyed the display in Royston Town Hall. Jane Vincent, the curator who came up with the idea, was able to visit too and see the finished piece. Since then, the Tapestry is being cared for while we find it a permanent home for display in the museum.