Historic textiles restored in Leamington church - The Leamington Observer

Historic textiles restored in Leamington church

A TREASURE-trove of historic textiles is set to be restored at Leamington’s All Saints Church.

A £7,600 Heritage Lottery grant will fund a conservation project of the church’s Victorian collection.

Alter frontal cloths, chalice covers and embroidered copes – a ceremonial cloak – are some of the items being restored to their former glory by The Arts Society, formally known as NADFAS.

Fr Christopher Wilson said: “We’re delighted to have received support. It’s our responsibility to look after the textiles which have been handed down to us. They are part of the church and we should value and honour the devotion that has gone into creating and caring for them.”

And some of the more elaborate pieces, including an alter frontage, originally made from red velvet, are thought to have been created in the late 19th century by a mysterious guild known as St Hilda’s.

It would have taken several years for a team of professional needlewomen to create some of the larger and more intricate items. Poor lighting would have affected their ability to work on the delicate small stitching of the embroidered pieces.

Gold thread – in which the members believe may actually contain traces of gold – was badly frayed in many of the pieces.

A set of copes worn by the vicar, are intricately embroidered with symbols of doves, angel wings and sacred monograms.

But their use has dwindled for fear of wear and tear of the ageing embroidery.

Around £700 of the funding will go towards a brand new cope which the team are inviting members of the community to help them create.

The design will use some of the themes represented in the stained glass windows – typical of the Victorian period of Gothic revival, during the mid-19th century when the building is dated.

Fr Christopher added: “The new cope will be a tangible link to special celebrations and will allow those involved to re-connect with the church and their spirituality.

“We will see results specific to the building and it will be a lasting reminder of the project and a contribution from a new generation.”

A number of items will be exhibited in church over Heritage Weekend from September 8 to 12.

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