Stunning Battle of Lewes tapestry took three years

Battle of Lewes tapestry.
Battle of Lewes tapestry.

The Battle of Lewes Tapestry was finally revealed in all its glory on the historic 750th anniversary.

It was launched at Lewes Castle by the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Mr Peter Field.

The stunning work of art has been three years in the making and has involved a dedicated team of more than 60 embroiderers.

The first stitch was sewn by Maggie Lanning in July, 2011 – and the last by Sally Blake in March this year.

The cheerful determination and organisational mastery of Sandy Hilly administered and enthused the team of embroiderers working most days at Lewes Castle.

The result is an extraordinary memorial to the battle, three metres wide, 80cms high and divided into fivel panels.

Design of the tapestry was undertaken by local artist Tom Walker, who compressed the main events of May 14, 1264, into a single panorama, with sections depicting different periods of time from the seven or eight hours the battle lasted.

These are distinguished from each other by their colour and detail. The earlier phases seem paler, or more distant, compared with the later, more dramatic and far bloodier stages of the fight.

Research went so far as establishing from NASA that there was a full moon the night before when Simon de Montfort’s army ascended the downs.

Tom transferred his design on to the face of the linen using an overhead digital projector and a pen with eraseable ink.