Bayeux Tapestry replica has inspired generations of girls

Wed, 17 Jan 2018
Year 12 pupils Beth (left) and Molly with the Bayeux Tapestry replica.

A hand-stitched replica of the Bayeux Tapestry has inspired generations of children at a Monmouth school.

The original Bayeux Tapestry looks set to be displayed in the UK for the first time in 950 years with an announcement expected from the French President, Emmanuel Macron, tomorrow.

A copy of the historic tapestry has been enjoyed by pupils, parents and staff at Monmouth School for Girls since 1984.

“When the school first received the replica of the tapestry, each section was framed and it was displayed in the dining room for many years,” said Headmistress at Monmouth School for Girls, Dr Caroline Pascoe.

“It now takes pride of place in the History Department and remains a hugely significant and inspiring piece of work.”

The original tapestry is one of the most powerful depictions of war ever created and tells the story of the Norman Conquest of England, culminating in the Battle of Hastings and the defeat of Harold in 1066.

It is on permanent display at a museum in the town of Bayeux, in Normandy, and has very rarely been moved.

Monmouth’s replica has given joy to hundreds of pupils and possesses an interesting history of its own.

Created by Maude Geare between 1930 and 1947, the works went on public display for the first time at the Ideal Homes Exhibition in London and then at Lewis’ Birmingham.

After writing to the Haberdashers Company in 1952, Mrs Geare’s work was sent to Haberdashers’ Hall in London and shown at various educational events.

The tapestry was loaned to each of the Haberdashers’ schools before returning to Haberdashers’ Hall in 1964 where it was kept in storage for the next 20 years.

In 1984, Haberdashers’ Hall wrote a letter to the Headmistress at Monmouth School for Girls, Mrs Patricia (Phillips) Caspari, asking whether the school would like to house the tapestry.

Mrs Caspari, who died in November last year, accepted the offer and the works arrived at the school on 15th February 1984.

The daughters of Mrs Geare, Dorothy Whittle and Hilary Davies, who were former pupils at Haberdashers’ Aske, visited Monmouth to look at the tapestry in September that year.

Head of History at Monmouth School for Girls, Mr Michael Seaton, said: “Today, the Bayeux Tapestry lines the corridor outside our History rooms and visitors always ask about it.

“We use it in our teaching and younger girls from Monmouth School Girls’ Prep come over to have a look at it too.

“It’s a very special piece of work and is much loved by current and past children and staff.”