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Thoughts blogged from The Dovecot: November 30th

..from Lucinda [Lucy] Byatt's Blog [with permission] ... from The Dovecot's Exhibition of our Tapestry in Their Gallery

Lucy wrote: "The surprising success at Prestonpans was the tinder that sparked the initial success of the Jacobite revolt in 1745: on 21 September 1745 the Jacobite army loyal to James Francis Edward Stuart and led by his son Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) defeated the government army loyal to the Hanoverian George II led by General Sir John Cope at Prestonpans – a few miles outside Edinburgh.

"Out of the 2,300 Redcoat dragoons, only 170 managed to escape and some 1500 were taken prisoner by the Jacobites. Cope fled south to Berwick-upon-Tweed. Colonel James Gardiner, who stayed at Bankton House close by the scene of battle, was mortally wounded in a final heroic skirmish.

"The Prestonpans Tapestry was unveiled on July 26, 2010. With 104 panels (each a metre long), it was designed by Andrew Crummy and embroidered by over 200 volunteer embroiderers. Some are clearly extraordinarily accomplished embroiders, others were just novices who wanted to be part of this exceptional project: what is clear is that the outcome is quite extraordinary. A national treasure to rival the Bayeux Tapestry!

"It took the embroiderers more than 25,000 hours, making some 10 million stitches, to create the world’s longest embroidered artwork at 104 metres.

"The choice of plain cream linen backing and brilliantly coloured wools makes this a dazzling sight: the panels contrast, some are fuller than others, some minimalist and others full of extraordinary detail. There are plenty of humorous touches, too – and personal ones [each embroider or group added their personal tag to identify their panel: there are quite a few wee dogs!].

"On display beside the Tapestry, there was even a fragment of the thorntree under which Colonel Gardiner is said to have lain wounded [depicted in Carmel Daly's panel below]. He is also purported to have said the heroic words: I cannot influence the conduct of others as I could wish, but I have one life to sacrifice to my country’s safety and I shall not spare it.”


The Battle Trust was most grateful for and delighted with the hospitality and kindness shown at The Dovecot to one and all - and for the opportunity to reach that excellent institution's clientelle. Ed.

Published Date: December 20th 2010

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