6th December 1998

The Guernsey Tapestry is completed

The Guernsey Tapestry is a series of 10 embroidered panels telling the story of the island’s history from 1001 until the present day. It was produced to mark the end of the second millennium.

The first stitch in the whole project was made on 4 September 1996, which was more than two years before it would be completed. The result was put on display in a purpose-built gallery in St Peter Port.

Each panel is 122 x 91cm, and depicts notable events from a single century. They have Guernesiais annotations embroidered into the margins. Earlier panels show the formation of the parishes and the island’s dolmen. The most recent panel depicts the occupation, tourism and the adoption of Guernsey’s flag.

History through the centuries

Between the two there are reminders of aspects from Guernsey’s history that have since been lost. The masthead of The Star, which merged with the Guernsey Evening Press, Victor Hugo’s signature and tomatoes, signifying Guernsey’s one-time cash crop, all appear on panel nine. Stitched by parishioners from St Pierre du Bois, this panel covers the years between 1801 and 1900. Panel six, stitched by Castel, depicts the burning of the Guernsey Martyrs.

Producing the tapestry was originally suggested by Sue Payne and commissioned to Valerie Chandler and over 200 volunteers. Members of the public, drawn from each island in the Bailiwick, could also join in by paying £1 to add their own stitch. Responsibility for each panel was given to a different parish and each one bears the badge of the parish that looked after it. Once completed, they were mounted and preserved for display.


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Other events that occured in December

French fishing boats prepare to invade 1st
Two cargo ships collide on their way to Guernsey 2nd
Guernseyman Herbert Le Patourel wrongly thought killed 3rd
A Guernsey funeral takes place in Cornwall 4th
Guernsey steamship SS Rossgull is wrecked 5th
The Guernsey Tapestry is completed 6th
Air UK Fokker overshoots Guernsey runway 7th
Naftel’s paintings go on display 8th
Guernsey and Jersey newspapers agree to merge 9th
Sark holds its first election 10th
Beau Sejour opens for business 11th
Victor Hugo flees France and Napoleon 12th
Explorer Edmund Kennedy is speared to death 13th
Author Mary Ann Shaffer is born
Herm bribery case comes to court 14th
Alderney’s evacuees return to their island 15th
Guillaume de Beauvoir appointed dean of English Church in Geneva 16th
Castle Cornet surrenders to Guernsey 17th
Telex, phones and telegram cables go quiet 18th
Guernsey shipwreck results in starvation 19th
Channel Islands Securities Exchange founded 20th
G-COBO has a bumpy flight 21st
Guernsey struck by an earthquake 22nd
William Hedley Cliff buys Jethou 23rd
Wombles author Liza Beresford dies 24th
Asterix is discovered in St Peter Port harbour 25th
Guille and Alles lease the Assembly Rooms 26th
The Red Cross saves Guernsey from starvation 27th
Operation Hardtack targets the Channel Islands 28th
Ebenezer Le Page author GB Edwards dies 29th
Castle Cornet is struck by lightning 30th
Guernsey Police makes the world’s first underwater arrest 31st