The Staffordshire Millennium Embroideries

Created by Sylvia M Everitt MBE
 

 

Eleventh Century Panel

Index
12th century
13th century
14th century
15th century
16th century
17th century
18th century
19th century
20th century
the map
the map key



And so we come to the closing cameo on the panel, Haley's glittering Comet leaping through a silver crescent moon.

The comet can be seen from earth at intervals of seventy-five years and it put in an appearance on 24th April 1066 when Harold, who had been king for less than four months, was already concerned with the threat of invasion from Duke William of Normandy. On the Bayeux Tapestry the comet is depicted with an astrologer warning King Harold that it is an omen of ill fortune - and for Harold it was, for he was dead five months later.

Early medieval scribes had a penchant for decorating their maps and manuscripts with smiling suns and profile moons. Sylvia's moon is here in that context - simply as a decoration, closing the first century of the new millennium on an estimated ten thousand Normans lording it over a conquered Saxon population of between one and two million souls - very few of whom lived in devastated Staffordshire. Now read on......

The above extract is from the book written by Dianne Mannering about the history of Staffordshire woven into Sylvia Everitt's embroideries. Click here to find out more about the book or to buy a signed copy
From Sylvia's library

Sylvia's review:

The Year 1000 - What Life was like at the turn of the First Millennium. By Robert Lacy and Danny Danziger
For anyone curious to know what was happening in England before the usual cut-off date of 1066 - this book is for you.
Based on the Julius Work Calendar which was written by a monk of Canterbury around 1020, it list the high days and holy days of the Roman Church. Each chapter is headed with a charming little vignette of the agricultural task to be done in that month. Drawn in the typically naive medieval style each time I look at them I feel inspired to translate them into embroidery.
The world of 1000AD is less complicated with religion and women had more equality with men than post-Norman conquest. It presents the Anglo-Saxons as down-to earth, pragmatic and hard-working, although, some of the old English law codes of "Enga-lond" would appear strange to modern eyes, for example, "if a man fondle the breasts of a free woman uninvited, he shall be fined five shillings". The rape of a free woman incurred the penalty of sixty shillings, payable direct to the victim. This was the time of "Wer-geld" when everything and everyone had their price!
And this book is priceless for giving an in depth insight into the world of our highly skilled but often under-rated and ignored Anglo-Saxon forebears.
Sylvia's review:
A Chronicle of Folk Customs by Brian Day
How do you fancy gurning* on the 24th August? Or how about chasing a cheese down a steep hill in May? This book will tell you where to go, how to get there and much much more.
It is a compendium of "occasions" listed month by month throughout the year. Religious fesivals, folk festivals, mop fairs, well dressing, agricultural festivals you name it - it is here, with a brief description of the goings-on and, in lieu of anything more concrete, a hazarded guess as to why. How about joining in a game of "Keaw Yed" at Westhoughton near Wigan? Any number can play, all you need is a cows head (Keaw Yed) and a Rugby type game follows. Originally, a pie was madefrom the cows head after the game and was enjoyed by all! Yuk!
This is a fascinating book telling of customs and folklore which, in some instances, date back over 1000years or more. Sadly, as told in the book, some of the celebrations have fallen foul of our "elf and safety" rules but,happily, a few still carry on in small out-of-the-way villages, the origins and meaning of the celebrations known only to the inhabitants.
There are some good vintage photographs illustrating some of the traditions, from the style of dress, I would guess they were taken in the 1930s. A delightful plus at the end of the book is several delicious recipes for each month - January Twelfth Cake. April Simnel Cake and Hot Cross Buns, November Soul Cake and St.Clements Tart.
This could be a useful book for planning outings or just to dip in and out of.Useful too, in that should you fancy visiting one of the festivals the book gives you start times, date and road directions.
Go, and enjoy some of Britain's ancient traditions.
*Gurning - putting your head through a horse collar and pulling the ugliest face possible!

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