The Lelant millennium tapestry

Copyright Maxwell Adams 2004-2020

Version 22 February 2020

In 1996 Maxwell Adams suggested to Lelant History Society that they should undertake a millennium project, a tapestry of the village. This was agreed and in late 1996 the project began, organised by Patricia Adams, Margaret Reed, and (until she left the area) Mary Wills (St Ives Times and Echo 1 March 1996, Cornishman 21 March 1996).

The tapestry was intended to be a record of Lelant in 2000, chosen by villagers. Villagers were invited freely to choose an aspect of Lelant and sew a panel illustrating it. Many chose their own or another house, but there were also panels of the playgroup, dance class, and boats. The panels were linked by joining strips, also sewn by villagers, which illustrated other aspects of Lelant: for example, the disappeared chapel of Anta.

Altogether there are forty two individual panels and the tapestry measures about eight feet high by seven feet wide (244 cm by 213 cm). The tapestry was a collective effort by villagers, the panels and adjoining strips being sewn by seventy six people, including thirteen children.

The canvas for the tapestry was bought from a firm in Kidderminster, the calico that backs the tapestry from a stall at Newark, Nottinghamshire market, and the Paterna wools for the sewing were bought from a mill in Yorkshire. Patricia Adams did this with the tapestry maney.

Grants towards the cost of materials for making the tapestry were given by Cornwall Arts Centre Trust 250 pounds and Penwith district council 100 pounds. Donations and a tea raised 140 pounds. There is an account of the Arts Centre Trust grant, and a photograph, in the St Ives Times and Echo 22 November 1996.

The tapestry was unveiled at a meeting in the village hall in February 2000. It is usually hung at the village hall but in some summers it has been displayed in St Uny's church. It was managed for the village by a trust from the start. The trust also manages the historic photographic collection of Lelant which is housed at the local studies library, Redruth.

On 15 February 2020 the custody and ownership of the tapestry was publicly handed over by the tapestry trustees to Lelant village hall trustees.

These are the people who sewed the tapestry

Luke Adams, Patricia Adams, Gerry Aird, Ruth Aspinall, Jane Badcock, Pat Banks, Sheila Bates, Janet Biggs, Frances Blight, Beryl Bowdidge, Marguerite Butcher, Sheila Cane, Doreen Dixon-Smith, Kathleen Ennor, Bethan Evans, Madeline Evans, Owen Evans, Margaret Ferguson, Elizabeth Fieldhouse, Maggie Freegard, Molly Freegard, Tom Freegard, Adam Gower, Amy Gower, Ashley Gower, Laura Gower, Liam Gower, Margaret Gower, Tom Gower, Kathleen Gregory, Jamie Guthrie, Stacie Guthrie, Carolyn Hartley, Sheila Hawkins, Jettie Hill, Gill Hughes, Annabelle Jeggo, Win Jenkins, Margaret Jennings, Pat Keeling, Sara MacDonald, Coral Matthews, Alec McGaw, Betty McGaw, Beatrice Murphy, Eileen Murphy, Sheila Murphy, Emily Murphy, Joyce Newby, Doreen Newman, Enid Norris, Mary Page, Audrey Parker, Elaine Pearce, Janice Perkin, Eithwen (Sally) Phillips, Beryl Pool, Jean Potter, Wendy Rayment, Margaret Reed, Gladys Reeves, Jane Ritchie, Sonja Rogers, Miriam Sambrook, Brenda Scantlebury, Jean Stead, Heather Stephens, Amanda Stock, Luke Stock, Tobias Stock, Win Triniman, Yvonne Walker, Meriel Ward, Norma Williams, Jan Williamson, Mary Wills.

The wooden pole which holds the tapestry was made by Peter Marshall, a villager.

References to the tapestry in local newspapers St ives Times and Echo 1 March 1996, 22 November 1996 with photograph, 7 February 2020 with photograph, 21 February 2020 with photograph Cornishman 21 March 1996, 2 March 2000 with photograph (page 12), 9 March 2000 with photographs (page 24-25), 6 February 2020