The Norwich Friends’ Tapestry is an exciting community project to create a unique tapestry for Norwich in the style of the famous example at Bayeux.
It's being funded by a gift from the Friends of the Norwich Museums, and forms part of our National Lottery Heritage Fund re-development project, Norwich Castle: Royal Palace Reborn.
Although known as the Bayeux Tapestry the original is in fact an embroidery, and ours is no different! This stunning piece is being created by a team of dedicated volunteers who have spent months mastering the original Bayeux stitch and every single element is being embroidered by hand.
As well as using the original stitch, the colours, motifs and style match those of the Bayeux Tapestry. However, the stories it tells are completely unique to Norwich.
The tales on the tapestry
The tapestry focuses on two East Anglian rebellions against King William the Conqueror’s rule.
It begins with the commissioning of Norwich Castle, and goes on to chart the life of East Anglian hero Hereward the Wake, who led a rebellion against the Norman invaders.
The second half of the tapestry tells the story of the revolt of the earls and Emma De Guader, the 16-year-old wife of the Earl of East Anglia, who in 1096 held Norwich Castle against the king's army while her husband sailed to Denmark for reinforcements.
Creating the tapestry and other textiles
The detailed design has been created by illustrator Fiona Gowen, based on storyboards researched and written by our curatorial team. The result will be a stunning 20-metre-long embroidery which will adorn the walls of Norwich Castle Keep when it re-opens.
You'll be able to see the Norman layout of the keep and the original rooms filled with the rich furnishings and textiles of a royal palace. The volunteer team will also create wall hangings, banners and period costumes.
You're invited to come and see the volunteers in action and even have a go at the Bayeux stitch yourself!
Tapestry meetings take place on a regular basis and you can find the team in Norwich Castle Rotunda every first Tuesday and third Thursday of the month.
Become a volunteer
If you would like to join our wonderful volunteer team, please contact our Volunteer Co-ordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. You don’t need any previous experience of sewing or textiles and all ages are welcome.
For any other enquiries relating to the Norwich Friends' Tapestry, please contact the project team at email@example.com.