Tuesday 24 January 2012

Halifax Minster Tapestries

Minster is simply another word for large church or cathedral and implies that at some stage a monastery was attached. What is amazing to me, is the connection between two of my favourite places at opposite ends, almost, of England. The early church at Halifax was built and endowed by the monks of Lewes in Sussex! The wonderful tapestries you can find there depict, rather like the Quaker Tapestries, the colourful and sometimes violent history of this church. They were worked by 18 local stitchers (all over 40 they will hasten to add) originally to furnish the stone seats in the south porch. The women worked on the tapestries between 2005 and 2007. At some later stage it was decided to display the finished work on the wall and the tapestries were blessed at a special service in October 2009. In the first panel above you can see the varied sky line of present-day Halifax.
Very interesting that this incorporates my husband's name down the right hand side of the panel. But no, the R Holdsworth referrred to here is the Revd. Robert Holdsworth who was murdered in 1556, caught up in the feud between the local Savile and Tempest families, during the 5th sacking of the vicarage!
In 1645 the dreaded Scottish troops entered Halifax. Though Halifax was a Puritan stronghold in the north during the Civil Wars, they may have been guilty of some back-sliding in later years, since here you can see the Scottish soldiers tipping holy water out of the font onto the floor.


  1. I had the pleasure of seeing these tapestries last year when I went to visit the Minster. Unfortunately, I only spotted them as I was leaving, but I did manage to take some photo's, of them so that I could study them once I got home.

    When I do visit churches, I always look out for any embroideries that are on display. There have been many Millennium Tapestries on display. Also there are wonderful kneelers and banners to be seen. I usually have my camera with me to take photo's of these treasures. I've got quite a collection now.

    Mary Joan

  2. Now that's interesting, and Halifax isn't far from me. I'll have to see if I can go and have a look in person.

  3. These designs are exquisite, and I applaud all the folks whose hands skillfully stitched these tapestries.

    Should I ever get back to the Lewes area, I will have to have a look.