The Odiham Society
Established 1978                                                                            Registered Charity No. 277285

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A magnificent embroidery showing key events in Odihamís rich history will be the centrepiece of the villageís Magna Carta 800th celebrations.

The embroidery design was launched in March in the Cross Barn. It has been designed by local artist Mary Turner.

Among the many scenes Mary has incorporated into the design are:

  • King John and the barons setting out for Windsor and Runnymede

  • Visits to Odiham by both Queen Elizabeth I and II

  • Founding of the veterinary profession in Britain

  • French prisoners held on parole during the Napoleonic war

The panel will be stitched by around 70 volunteers from the local community and will take 18 months to complete. Stitchers of all abilities are already working hard on sections of the embroidery.

When complete, it will be framed and unveiled at the Odiham Magna Carta Festival on 23 May 2015 before going on public display in the village.

John Champion, chairman of The Odiham Society, which is leading the 800th anniversary celebrations, said:

ĎThe panel reflects the history of England as it was played out in this historic parish. This is very much a community project which will bring the heritage of the Parish of Odiham alive for residents and visitors, young and old alike.í

Royal connection

King Johnís connection with the village began when he built Odiham Castle as a convenient and secure stopping place where he could also indulge his passion for hunting in Odihamís Royal Deer Park.

He rode out from the castle to Windsor on 10th June 1215, meeting baronial leaders on the water meadows of Runnymede and probably affixing his seal to the Articles of Barons on the same day.

This document formed the basis for Magna Carta, key clauses of which concerning liberty and justice have been adopted around the world.

Project progress

Considerable research and planning has already gone into the project to ensure authenticity of design and materials. It will be stitched in traditional materials and techniques that have been recommended by the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court and the National Needlework Archive in Newbury.

The panel has been divided into individual parts that are being worked on separately by volunteer stitchers from the village. Stitchers have been divided into mixed ability groups led by an experienced embroiderer. The hope is that they will encourage and inspire each other. Once completed, all the parts will be stitched on to the main canvas to complete the design.

Odiham Magna Carta weekend

A weekend of festivities to mark this historic anniversary is planned for 2015. Activities will include:

  • Choral concert at All Saints Church, featuring the first performance of a Magna Carta anthem

  • Flower festival

  • Art exhibition

  • Archery competition in the Chalk Pit

  • Archaeological dig

  • Heritage talks and guided walks

  • Medieval Market in the Bury

  • Re-enactment of medieval life at Odiham Castle

  • Canal boat rally at Odiham Wharf

  • Clog and Morris festival.

The celebrations will involve the entire community, local organisations and schools and visitors will be most welcome to join in, learn and enjoy.

The Odiham Magna Carta Festival Weekend is a community project led by The Odiham Society.

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