Friday, 28 August 2015

The Broderers' Guild at Norwich Cathedral

In a recent post about Norwich Cathedral I promised to
expand further about an exhibition of embroidered church
vestments and the Broderers' Guild who look after them.

Established in 1997 the Guild is responsible for the upkeep and
repair of all ecclesiastical textiles, as well as designing and
making new items such as chasubles, stoles and frontals
They're all volunteers and are always looking for new members
to join their team.

They also offer workshop tours on which it's possible to go
behind the scenes and gain insight into the Guild's work with
textiles.  Tours currently cost £4 per person and early
booking is advisable due to limited space.  Then round
off the afternoon with tea and cakes in the Refectory.
What's not to like about that.

A real labour of love

When I met the ladies they were working on a conservation
piece which they had practically rebuilt from scratch.
Nearly all the mediaeval bugle beads had fallen off and needed
replacing and the actual fabric itself needed urgent repair and
attention too.

This whole piece was restored bead by bloody bead!

Apparently the ancient beads were so thin that not even the
finest of modern beading needles could be used and each one
had to be threaded by hand onto specially prepared
waxed thread.  And you thought cross stitch was fiddly?

But that's not the end of the story.  Once all the beads
are firmly secured in place, rather like thatching a roof,
a minutely thin layer of netting is stitched in place over the top
to catch any beads should they fall off again
sometime in the year 2500+.

To book a tour or for further information about volunteering
opportunities please contact Helen Jenkins on 01603 218326.

Or, alternatively, email
for any questions or queries you may want to put to them.
And why not visit the website while you're at it:


  1. I know you love that wild boar and dancing owl, don't you?

    1. Methinks you know me rather well my smokey mountain maiden.