A Medieval monastic garden

My inspiration for Threads of Time 2

By Felicity Marpole

DE 112B Indenture and seal, 1507
Felicity Marpole
Extract from the indenture 'Gardyn called Covent Gardyn'
Felicity Marpole
Model of a Medieval monastic garden- the start
Felicity Marpole
Cabbage leaves using a Kay Dennis pattern
Felicity Marpole
Started as a stumpwork cabbage but turned into a lettuce!
Felicity Marpole

15 November 2014

I was so impressed with the first Threads of Time exhibition that I immediately signed up for Threads of Time 2 even though I only have rudimentary sewing skills.

I want to make a model of a medieval monastic garden and my inspiration  for this idea comes from a document in the Delmé Radcliffe collection of archives at Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies (HALS).

This document ( DE 112B) is an indenture made in 1507, in which the White Carmelite Friars of Hitchin Priory leased some of the Priory land – including a Covent Garden – to a John Rycroft Esquire of the town of Hitchin.

Covent means convent as in the present day area of Covent Garden in London which was built on the site of an ancient convent garden belonging to Westminster Abbey.

Somewhat daunted by the task I’d set myself, especially as I hadn’t sewn anything for years and then only plain sewing, I was encouraged by my good friend, Daphne, who took me to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace .  There I was amazed by the wealth of wonderful threads and fabrics and the works of art created from all sorts of textiles and inspired to make a start on my own creation!

For the project I am researching the following:

Hitchin Priory and gardens

Carmelite Friars

Medieval monastic gardens

Herbs and their uses especially those grown in the Middle Ages

Stumpwork or raised embroidery – a type of 3D embroidery

Needle lace – a type of lace created using a needle and thread to stitch up hundreds of small stitches to form the lace itself.

I really enjoyed the first meeting of Threads of Time 2, everyone was so friendly and I was got some helpful advice from an expert in stumpwork!

This page was added on 15/11/2014.

Comments about this page

  • i am so impressed at how swiftly your inspiration has come and developed – it sounds as though this project is just what you have been waiting for and it is bringing together a lot of your interests

    i shall look forward to watching as this garden fills with your needlework and other creations

    By Eva Cantin (20/11/2014)
  • Hello Felicity – this is such a lovely idea.  I’m really looking forward to seeing how all your gardens will grow. Stumpwork is such a great and fascinating form of embroidery!  Best wishes, Frances

    By Frances Green (17/11/2014)

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