The Bayeux Project

One part of the project work is currently active.

The Bayeux project arose out of a suggestion when we were making a lottery application. The Lottery funders were keen to include as many people and skills as possible. Clearly there were some people in the community who did not want to go searching for archaeological bits and pieces or drill holes in the soil.

The idea of designing a tapestry, and then producing it, emerged as one of the projects that would help to make the wider world aware of the battle that took place at Fulford. After several at­tempts to commission people to do the design, the work evolved from the Bayeux iconography and one winter of evenings with the help of an expert design studio, Reprotech Ltd, who were able to piece all the individual drawings together to make composite. It was designed to match the Bayeux Tapestry in style although the York Preface has just 6 panels stretching to 5m (compared with over 70m for the Bayeux original).

We held two wonderful training days in Barley Hall who very kindly agreed to host the tapestry and give space to the workers until it mover to Jorvik’s DIG. Work on the tapestry continues. We were very lucky in finding a few dedicated workers. Many of the plants used to dye the threads were harvested in Fulford.

It will be another year or two before the tapestry is complete. Once it is completed I hope it will find a home in York but also be able to be a mobile monument to the project and a valuable educa­tional device that will help explain to people what really went on during September 1066.


1 The first panel shows King Harald making landfall and attacking Scarborough. The lower edge shows it was harvest time while the top displays some of the omens that attended Harald’s departure from The Solund.

2 There is some resistance to the invaders as they move through Holderness and are kept under observation. The edges show the various warnings.

3 The base at Riccall is illustrated with the various administrative preparations while the warriors dress for battle under the protection of Freya. At the top the Mercian fleet at Tadcaster is portrayed while at the bottom, the Northumbrian Fyrd is summoned.

4 The armies confront each other across Germany Beck with Earl Morcar challenging the Norse invaders. The top border has the first part of one of Aesop’s fables, then Lady Godiva in the centre as she was the granny of the brother earls, Morcar and Edwin who we believe had brought them up.

5 This panel illustrates the outflanking manoeuvre which allowed King Harald to cross the beck beside the river. This is where the allegory of the fox and the bird that was first recorded by Aesop, reaches its conclusion – the bird is tricked by the fox and drops the cheese - just as the defenders had been fooled.

6 After their victory the city of York submits to Harald. King Harold of England is seen rushing north at the top as the victors prepare to feast. There is an assemblage of icons that represent the groups, individuals and organisations who contributed to the project on the right.