The discovery of the Bacton Altar Cloth at St Faith’s Church, Bacton, Herefordshire, has excited historians and the textile community alike. The richly embroidered altar cloth was found hanging in a glass case in St Faith’s Church, Bacton, having been retired as an altar cloth over a hundred years ago.
Bacton was the birthplace of one of Elizabeth I’s most faithful servants, Blanche Parry, who began her 57 year service supervising the royal cradle rockers, and died as her Chief Gentlewoman of the Bedchamber. It is believed that the altar cloth was given to the church by or in memory of Blanche Parry. It is also known that the Queen would give Blanche her clothes and this piece of embroidery has motifs typical to the designs of the late 16th century and has a close resemblance to the bodice that can be seen in ‘The Rainbow’ portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, c.1600. It has been painstakingly conserved and had been the focal point of an exhibition at Hampton Court Palace entitled The Lost Dress of Elizabeth I.
The Royal School of Needlework has produced four beautiful embroidery kits — Mistletoe, Rose, Thistle and Daffodil — which are available exclusively from the RSN Online Shop.
Each design is based on an image from the Bacton Cloth and will give you the opportunity to stitch in the same way as the 16th Century original using the following stitches; Stem, Seeding, Buttonhole and Darning. Worked in Stranded cottons and metal thread on a silk and wool mix cloth. The Mistletoe design will give you an opportunity to learn a wider range of stitches and is suitable for all, but some previous experience will helpful.
Each kit contains all materials, clear diagrams and full instructions to complete and suitable for embroiderers of all abilities. These kits are beautifully presented in a grey box.
A percentage of the proceeds from the sale of each kit will be donated to St Faith’s Church, Bacton.