Photograph courtesy Dennis Clarke/Bob Malcolm
Ideas for a millennium tapestry were first discussed in September 1997. It all took off when we were introduced to a professional textile artist Mrs Jean Clarke from Watford, who very generously gave her services free of charge.
The design is a triptych depicting the villages - its features and activities.
The left hand section shows the Methodist Church above several cottages which are typical of the village. Below these are scenes from the school playground and above are some of the sporting activities which go on here.
Similarly, the middle section shows the Parish Church with some of the older buildings in the village, with sports, brownies and guides represented above and below.
The right hand panel shows our much-loved bluebell woods at the top with scenes from the village's annual May Festival in the bottom section.
Surrounding these three sections are over 40 "badges" which represent the various organisations in the village.
All three sections are linked together by the ribbons of the maypole, symbolising the uniting of all the village organisations, and, indeed, the whole village, during the May Festival.
Having drawn the colour design, our designer enlarged this to the size of the finished work (6' high by 9' wide) . At our first workshop, members of the community traced off characters, buildings etc from the foreground and transferred the outlines on to 15 holes per inch canvas. All these pieces were taken away and worked at home by individuals.
Photograph courtesy Pat Dyer
Three pieces of rug canvas were then attached to wooden frames and the worked pieces of tapestry placed in situ. The pieces which had already been worked on the fine canvas were cut out and held in place on the prepared rug canvas. The background was worked in tent stitch using torn strips of chiffon material which was taken right up to the foreground pieces - these were then sewn into place by couching a cord around the figure.
Funding for the project has been obtained from various grants and from donations from many of the village organisations. We have also been very grateful to receive donations from several individuals living in the village.
The tapestries were temporarily on display during the May Festival in the Parish Church.
Photograph courtesy Stephen Tees
Villagers make their stitch at the Open Day
Photograph courtesy Catherine Tees
An open day was held in September to enable everyone to come and see the progress of the tapestry and for anyone living in the parish to make their own stitch and also to sign a book which will be kept alongside the finished tapestry. Over three hundred people came along. A large number of people helped out on the day - whether by making cakes, serving refreshments, helping with the stitching, providing displays, helping with transport or playing background music. The sense of community on the day was proof that this has indeed been a community project.
On the 2nd January, in the Village Hall, there was a last chance for people to come and make their stitch and sign the book. Over 600 signatures have now been collected. The last stitch was put in the tapestry by Catherine Tees on the stage of the Memorial Hall.
All that then remained to be done was the finishing and the preparation for hanging in the church. During the next few months, the stitchers spent many hours on the thankless task of finishing off ends at the back and generally tidying up at the front.
An "interfacing" was attached to the back, which was then covered with the final blue calico backing. Sleeves were sewn on the backing and wrought iron poles threaded through these. These poles were hung from the wooden ceiling in the church with high-tensile wires so that the tapestry could hang an inch or two from the wall.
The official unveiling was carried out by Jean Clarke, designer, on Sunday 30th April 2000.
The tapestry has been registered with Stitch 2000 - a Group which is compiling a record of all embroideries in the country to be completed during the Year 2000.
A section of one of the tapestries