The Odiham Society
Established 1978                                                                            Registered Charity No. 277285

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The Odiham Embroidery

(Click on the photo above for a larger version)


Photograph © 2015 by Sharon Williams

Photograph © 2015 by Sharon Williams

Photograph © 2015 by Sharon Williams

Photograph © 2015 by Sharon Williams


The 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.

Thanks were extended to Hampshire Library Service who reorganised and re decorated the library to accommodate the embroidery and to show it off in all its glory.

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.

Lady Portal, 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.

This beautiful 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.

For more information and to book group viewings, please contact us at the following address:

Library Hours

Monday Tuesday and Thursday 2pm to 5pm
Wednesday Friday and Saturday 9.30am - 12.30pm
Sunday - closed




The Unveiling of the Embroidery on 16th May 2015
by The High Sheriff of Hampshire, Lady Portal MBE DL.
(Click on any of the photos below for a larger version)

The Odiham Embroidery Brochure has been kindly sponsored by Strutt and Parker, Odiham

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