The Ramsbury Millennium Tapestry
Rich in colour, strong design and variety of depicted village scenes. The Ramsbury Millennium Tapestry is the result of a community project like no other. It is compact in size measuring 131 x 80 cm (51 x 31 ins) and is a symbol of the community spirt that flows through the village, as the Kennet flows through the Downs. The Ramsbury Millennium Tapestry can be seen on permanent display in Holy Cross Church and a photographic copy is hung on a wall in the Memorial Hall.
Canon David Howe, first suggested the idea in 1993, and work began in September 1997 and the masterpiece was finally dedicated in January 2000. The project formed part of the ‘Stitch 2000 project’ of The National Needlework Record of Millennium Needlework which aimed to record all millennium needlework on public display. Ramsbury’s tapestry was registered in 2001.
Advice was sought from the Victoria & Albert Museum as to which framers should be used as the work was to hang in the church it was essential that it should be made damp-proof and moth-proof. Mr Hyams, who paid for the framing and fixing, generously insisted on Museum Glass which would stop fading and reflection.
On Sunday January 9th 2000 a service of blessing was held in Holy Cross Church. Nearly everyone who had taken part in making the tapestry was in the congregation. David Howe gave the sermon basing it on the tapestry.
The final fixing of the framed work was finished in time for Easter when it featured in the BBC television broadcast of the Easter Day Morning Service from Holy Cross, taken by the Rt. Revd. Peter Hullah, Bishop of Ramsbury.
The Millennium Tapestry is a pictorial map of Ramsbury, it shows the following key features:
The River Kennet
Holy Cross Church
“The Tree” and houses, from Littlecote (now a Hotel), to the Manor
The Silver Band is undecided whether to go to the Bell or the Methodist Church. Note: It was undecided whether the band should drink or pray – but as they are heading straight for a brick wall, they won’t be capable of doing either!
The Main Tapestry features:
Hardware Shop (now Post Office)
Ramsbury Primary School
Whittonditch Road houses
The Bleeding Horse (The Old Forge)
The Bell & The Tree in The Square
The Methodist Chapel
The band and Town Crier
Holy Cross Church
The Manor gates
Edwards Mill (Moons Mill)
The Crown and Anchor
The Memorial Hall
The Border of the Ramsbury Tapestry contains emblems of Village activities. Emblems in the border Top from left to right:
Ramsbury Flyer: Local community bus inaugurated in 1993, it provides a regular service to Hungerford and Marlborough and can be hired for special outings. Its drivers and organisers are volunteers.
Fish: Represents trout. The river Kennet is an excellent chalk stream beloved by trout. It is fished by the fortunate few who can afford a rod.
British Legion: The Royal British Legion has a clubhouse in the High Street and is active on behalf of all ex servicemen in the village. It organises the Armistice Day parade.
RHS: The Ramsbury Horticultural Society started in 1912, meets monthly and organises a summer flower show, sometimes held on the Recreation Ground in marquees, or in The memorial Hall.
Raven: Ramsbury was originally called Hraefntsburg in Saxon times, hraefn being old English for raven.
Bishop’s mitre: Ramsbury bishopric, created in 909, had ten bishops before going into abeyance in 1075. It was revived in 1974, since when we have had five bishops.
Kingfisher: Often seen on the river.
Ramsbury Pre-School: There were one two pre—schools in the village, one in the Methodist Hall, and Puffins Nursery School, held in The Cedars in Scholards Lane.
Guides and Scouts: The guides and scout groups had folded by 2000, but the Scouts and Cubs now thrive.
Swallow: Many return every year to the village.
Red Cross Ambulance: Representing the Red Cross centre, founded soon after the Second World War.
Bottom, left to right:
Tractor: Representing farming, which surrounds the village.
WI: Women’s Institute.
Staff of Aesculapius: Represents the medical group practice which once worked from the old surgery in the High Street. Bell and sally: Representing Ramsbury bell ringers. The church has six bells.
Book of music: Representing the choirs in the village and musical concerts which take place most years.
Ballet shoes: Representing the ballet classes which have been held in the village for many years.
Grain Barn: This grain barn at Hilldrop Farm is one of several to be found in the area. It is slate—hung and stands on staddlestones.
Saxon Stones: This part of a Saxon cross found embedded in the church wall during restoration in 1891 represents many pieces of stone found in Holy Cross Church.
Church Lych Gate: Built as a memorial in 1910.
Artist’s palette: Represents Ramsbury Painting Club.
Masks of Comedy and Tragedy: Represents Ravensbury Players.
The Crown and Anchor Inn at the junction of Crowood Lane and Oxford Street, Ramsbury. It became a beer house in 1842, when it was owned by one of the many brewers of the famous Ramsbury beer. It is now a popular village pub serving food.
The Memorial Hall, High Street, Ramsbury. Built after the first World War in 1926 with money raised by public subscription. It was extended and refurbished after great fundraising in 1998, and is much used for village events.
People in the main picture:
Top right: Artist with easel shows Eric Kilner, the artist for the tapestry.
Mid right: Children playing ball.
Centre: Bowls player representing the Bowls Club which was once situated behind 1 and 2 The Square, Ramsbury.
Mid left: Horse rider. Many horses are kept in the village, both privately and at the stables at Loves Farm, in Loves Lane.
Bottom left: Ramsbury Silver Band. Founded in 1900 by the Methodist Church, it plays at many local events and services.
Centre: Young mothers with children representing many young families in the village.
Centre behind ducks: Town crier, a position reintroduced by Mr Ronnie Price early in the 1970s.
Bottom centre: Cyclist. Mrs Kathy Holdsworth representing the increasing number of villagers who cycle.
Flora and fauna in the picture:
Birds: Heron, often seen standing in the river, or flying down the valley. Mallard ducks. These are everywhere in the village, especially in the spring and summer when pairs nest in, the most unlikely places and mother ducks and ducklings walk to and fro across the roads.
Cows. Pasture land is found all around the village. On occasions cows were driven through the village.
Horses. Many are kept and ridden in the village. There is a stud farm at the east end of Ramsbury and riding stables at Loves Farm at the north west end of the village.
Dogs and cats. There are many in the village, but few strays.
There are many varieties of trees and in the last decade a concerted effort has been made to replace and plant new trees.
The oak in the Square, outside The Bell, was planted in 1986 to replace a 400 year old elm. Other trees: weeping willow, alder, oak, ash, beech, maple, etc. and various conifers.
Fields: Pastures, water meadows, set aside.
Crops grown: Rape, corn, hay, turnips.
In the main picture
Hot air balloon: Often fly over Rams bury in early morning or evening, usually having taken off from Hamstead Marshall or Littlecote.
Flag on church: The English flag of St George, which is flown on all public occasions, including royal birthdays.
The flint wall, centre left: This represents the many flint and brick garden walls in the village. Many of the houses are also built of this material.
Seats round the tree in the Square: Given by the USAF 437 Troop Carrier Group commemorating their posting to Ramsbury during the Second World War.
The play area: This represents two small play areas,’ one off Whittonditch Road, and one at Hilldrop Close.
Tennis court: Represents the recreation ground and Sports Centre the west end of the village.
The War Memorial: Erected in 1926 commemorating the soldiers Of the World Wars. Cricket bat, tennis and football: Represents sports club and recreation centre at the end of the village.
Children: Representing all children and youth in the village.
Fire Engine: Represents volunteer Fire Brigade established in present form in 1938, although Ramsbury had two engines in 1860.
Around 110 stitchers took part, (of which 15 were male and 6 were children). The stichers included Liz Jarrett, Zeta Caldicott, Jan Ellis, Jan Helmer, Mary Fox, Constance Golding, Joan Rogerson, Margaret Marshall, Joan Jones, Evelyn Smith, David Howe, Constance Golding, Beth Pope, Diann Barnett, Rose Russ, Julia Ellis, Ron Richardson, Julia Merrifield, Lois Edwards, Liz Mclndoe, Jane Handford, Janie Kearnes, Rosalie Winter, Sandra Payne, Doreen Daniel and Annabel Dallas.
Further information of the Ramsbury Millennium Tapestry and to see examples of stitching and artists concepts can be found in Holy Cross Church, Ramsbury.