The two-part Tapestry hangs either side of the Statue of Our Lady and depicts the three Glastonbury Martyrs (Blessed Richard Whiting, Blessed John Thorne, Blessed Roger James) with St. Dunstan who was born at Baltonsborough, near Glastonbury and was an Abbot there and later became Archbishop of Canterbury. Also represented are St. Joseph of Arimathea, St. David, St. Patrick, St Brigid and Blessed Richard Bere, all of whom are said to have lived for a time at Glastonbury.
The Tapestry was designed by Brother Louis Barlow of the Benedictine Abbey, Prinknash, Gloucestershire.
It was woven by the Edinburgh Tapestry Company Ltd. The work was carried out from February to June 1965. Five weavers took a total of 240 working hours to complete.
The weft is wool on a cotton warp. The technique is Gobelin weave which is a craft unchanged for some 3,000 years; woven by hand on an upright loom. The looms used were in use in Soho for tapestry in the 17th century.
Click on each of the characters to learn more about them, or on the foot of the tapestry to learn more of the history of the Shrine and about the tapestry itself.
The Tapestry, designed by Brother Louis Barlow, OSB, Prinknash Abbey, Gloucs., was made by Edinburgh Weavers and completed in 1965. Blessed Richard Whiting Last Abbot of Glastonbury, martyred on the Tor 1539; beatified 1895. Glastonbury Abbey monks Roger James and John Thorne, tortured and hanged with the Abbot. Beatified 1895.St Dunstan Born near Glastonbury, introduced Benedictine Rule to the Abbey community when he was Abbot. Later he was made Archbishop of Canterbury. He is traditionally depicted catching the Devil by the nose with pincers. (d. 988) Blessed Richard Bere Nephew of Abbot Bere, Abbot Whiting's immediate predecessor. One of a group of nine Carthusians who were martyred at Newgate Prison 1536. St Joseph of Arimathea Mentioned in all four Gospels. Local legend says that the Glastonbury Thorn grew from his staff, and that he brought the chalice of the Last Supper of our Lord to England. William Blake's poem ‘Jersualem’ refers to another legend that St Joseph had earlier brought the child Jesus on a visit to England.St David Patron of Wales, who visited Glastonbury in AD 530. Once when he was preaching, a white dove descended, and his voice became as a trumpet. St Patrick Patron of Ireland (d. 461), according to legend the first abbot of Glastonbury, and a formative influence on the monastic community that was later led by St Dunstan. St Brigid Irish Saint (453-524), said to have visited Glastonbury in 488 and stayed nearby in Beckery (trans. ‘little Eire’). Foundress of religious houses and patroness of the home, she is often depicted with her cow and milking stool.