Historic Hastings tapestry on display in Rye wows visitors

Twenty-seven panels of the tapestry are on display at Bridge Point in Rock Channel, Rye. Photo by Richard Grebby
Twenty-seven panels of the tapestry are on display at Bridge Point in Rock Channel, Rye. Photo by Richard Grebby

Visitors to Rye have been left ‘in awe’ of the historic Hastings tapestry on display there.

The embroidery, which was commissioned to celebrate the 900th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, is currently on show at the site of a proposed new creative arts centre at Bridge Point, Rock Channel. The 245ft tapestry was created by the Royal School of Needlework in 1966 and has now been taken out of storage for the first time in decades for this exhibition.

Members of the public were invited to view the embroidery for the first time last weekend, with some amazing responses.

Rye resident and volunteer Heidi Foster said: “The showing of the embroidered tapestry at a pop-up event at Bridge Point, Rye, was a most successful venture.

“The transformation of the previous auction building and old Bournes warehouse at Rock Channel is an amazing feat for the Martello team responsible. As a local person I decided to steward at the events. Seeing the tapestry on the opening night I was in awe of the needlework achieved on the 27 large panels, the vibrant colours, quality of and attention to details.

“But credit must also be given to the dedicated team, the many individuals working all hours to achieve the extraordinary environment to display the tapestry, taking account of the difficulties in preserving its integrity.

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“Walking into the space is awesome and as a steward I heard many comments from visitors admiring, apart from the tapestry, the space itself as well as the art pieces in the initial gallery one entered.

“I would say that everyone who left expressed pleasure at a very positive and inspiring experience.”

Rachel Shouksmith, project volunteer, added: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a steward at The Tapestry Project in Rye. It is a very interesting installation and the tapestries are stunning, full of colour and life. It was lovely to share in the visitors’ experiences as they explored the space and I enjoyed talking to them and hearing their thoughts and stories.

“It was great to be a part of such an exciting and stimulating project, and I urge you to come and see the tapestries while you can!”

People will have another opportunity to view the artwork at the next public opening on Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9.

It will also open on the weekends of July 13 and 14, August 25 and 26, September 14 and 15, and October 13 and 14. It is open from 11am to 3pm on these dates. Adults are £3, while children enter for free.

For more information, visit http://bridgepointrye.com/upcoming-events/hastings-tapestry-event/.

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