complex embroidery, designed by Odiham-based artist Mary Turner was
created to commemorate the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. The
embroidery depicts 800 years of local history from the time of Magna
Carta and reflects the history of England as it was played out in our
parish. It features King John and the barons setting off for Windsor and
Runnymede, visits by both Queen Elizabeth I and II, the meeting in
Odiham that led to the founding of the veterinary profession in Britain,
French prisoners of war held on parole at Odiham and North Warnborough
during the Napoleonic war, and the great heavyweight boxing match
between Mendoza and Humphreys in 1788 Ė among many other scenes. Eleanor
de Montfort, King Johnís daughter, is also shown, along with her husband
Simon de Montfort who returned to join her at Odiham Castle following
the first Parliament with elected representatives in 1265.
The panel has been
divided into individual motifs that have been worked on separately by
around 70 volunteer stitchers. Once completed, all the motifs were
stitched onto the main canvas to complete the design. Considerable
research and planning has gone into the project, and has been stitched
in traditional materials using techniques that have been recommended by
the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court and the National
Needlework Archive in Newbury.
The unveiling of
the Odiham embroidery took place in the library in the historic
Bridewell in Odiham on 16th May 2015. The High Sheriff of Hampshire,
Lady Portal MBE DL, performed the ceremony in front of many of the
stitchers and key people involved with the project including John
Champion, Chairman of The Odiham Society. He introduced Lady Portal and
said that we were very honoured to have her with us especially as the
last time the High Sheriff came to Odiham was 800 years ago! On that
occasion King John issued a French translation of the Magna Carta to the
Sheriff of Hampshire from Odiham Castle on 27th June 1215. Also
present was Cllr Jonathan Glen, currently Vice Chairman of Hampshire
County Council, who helped to secure funding for the embroidery.
Lady Portal gave a
short speech and said that it was a beautiful piece of work of which
Odiham should be proud and which would be admired for many years to
come. She then enjoyed talking to some of the embroiderers about their
contributions and how they were worked.
extended to Hampshire Library Service who reorganised and re decorated
the library to accommodate the embroidery and to show it off in all its
After the unveiling
everyone moved to Mayhill School to join other invited guests. A
beautiful commemorative cake was on display and this was to be cut later
by the High Sheriff and Mary Turner, the designer and lead embroiderer.
The cake and a glass or two of bubbly were enjoyed by all.
Jonathan Glen and John Champion each gave speeches talking about those
who created the embroidery and the amount of work which went into it,
the history it depicts and how it relates to Odiham. John said it would
never be known how much time had been spent but it must have been at
least 2000 hours.
Embroidery can be viewed during the library opening hours (see below)
and we are now taking advance bookings for private groups who would like
to view the embroidery outside the usual library hours. Brochures giving
detailed information about the creation of the embroidery and postcards
can also be purchased at the library.
information and to book group viewings, please contact us at the
Tuesday and Thursday 2pm to 5pm
Wednesday Friday and Saturday 9.30am
Sunday - closed