Bayeux Tapestry

  • Medieval Era
  • 2 mins

By Crusader1307

Perhaps no one artifact is as recognized as the iconic Bayeux Tapestry. Technically, it is NOT, as Centuries of mis-identification has labeled it - a "Tapestry". It is actually an Embroidery. It's "misnomer" was based on the fact that "Tapestries" (as discussed previously), were an important facet of Medieval Castle and Manor House "life" among Royalty and Nobility. It's resemblance to true Tapestries earned it the title (and one that "stuck") - for Centuries.


Measuring 230 feet long and nearly 2-feet in width, The Bayeux Tapestry features 50 panels joined, that depict the Invasion of England, The famed Battle of Hastings and Coronation of the Norman Warchief, William The Conqueror. Great detail was placed into it's construction. So much so that first centuries, The Tapestry served as a source for identifying Medieval Clothing, Hairstyles and Warfare, as they were practiced in the mid-11th Century.


Much of what is found regarding The Battle of Hastings  (1066 AD), was gleaned from The Tapestry  (and it's Latin postscripts, printed throughout the piece). It even accurately depicts the death of The Saxon King Harald (which cemented William's ascension to The English Throne.


The Bayeux Tapestry also created a bit of a mystery regarding "who" commissioned it's creation. Once thought to have been made in France, it is now thought that it was created in England, somewhere between 1067 and 1080 AD. With many "Camps" claiming a definite "who", two rise above most. The first choice wad thought to be Queen Matilda (Mother of William The Conqueror). It was said she commissioned the work to honor his War Victory. The second choice may have been The Bishop Odo of Bayeux. The Tapestry may coincide with the completion of The Bayeux Cathedral in 1077 AD. The Bishop was (after all), the half-Brother of William.


For Centuries, The Tapestry was displayed on various occasions, at The Cathedral. As The Middle Ages faded, so did the popularity of the piece did likewise. "Rediscovered" in 1729, The Tapestry suffered a poor attempt at Conservation. Haphazardly hand-sewn onto a heavy carpet-like backing (each numbered), this was the only attempt made to preserve it.


The Tapestry remained at Bayeux Cathedral until the 19th Century, when it wad moved into it's own "Museum", where it currently resides - at The Museum of The Tapestry - in Bayeux, Normandy, France.