Friends of St Giles' Church, Cambridge
'Long Read'
"faith, our outward sense befriending,
makes our inward vision clear."
We are delighted to share with you the result of our latest conservation project: The Blessed Sacrament Banner. The extremely generous gift of an anonymous donor has allowed us to employ Jacqui Hyman, a specialist in ecclesiastical and military restoration, to bring it back to its former glory.

The banner shows a chalice at its centre in gold and a host in silver set in a cross motif. From this central image radiate couched gold threads. Angels, one in red and one in blue are finely embroidered in a prayerful pose as supporters of the chalice. The folds of their garments are outlined in couched gold thread, most of which had been loosened. Their faces and hands are worked in split stitch. The ground fabric is of ivory silk and had split and fallen away in many places revealing finely woven linen. It was in a shocking state of repair and gradually deteriorating.

It had been gifted to St Giles in May 1926, the PCC meeting minutes noting: 'A new banner of the Blessed Sacrament made by the Sisters of the Church - gift from Fr Appleyard (who designed and made the costumes for the Scouts entertainment)’
The fabric is, however, possibly older than 1926. A black and white photograph of a banner using the same design but with a different damask ground fabric is in the archives of The Community of the Sisters of the Church. The embroidery was designed and executed under the guidance of one of the artist/sisters at their Church Embroidery Room in Broadstairs Kent. Their work was sent abroad to Canada, Australia and the West Indies.

As this banner, together with the previously restored ‘Rock of St Peter’, is of significance to textile historians, artists in textiles and educators, from a secular perspective, along with its obvious value to St Giles’, it was decided that it needed to be restored.

Jacqui Hyman carried out restoration on the banner in her workshop using habotai silk under the present damask and netting with micro filament. It is conserved to a standard so that it is fit for very occasional liturgical use, but mainly for display. In the short term the banner will be stored, but then it is hoped that it will be displayed at a temporary location other than St Giles. Eventually we will fundraise in order to invest in a secure display case for St Giles Church.

We are hugely grateful to our donor for making the restoration and conservation of these two significant banners possible.
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Registered Charity Number 1168770 

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Patron The Revd Prof Diarmaid MacCulloch Kt, DD, FBA 
Chair Dr John F. Mueller 
Secretary Mrs Ank Riglesford 
Treasurer Dr Geoffrey Dumbreck

Our mailing address is:
Friends of St Giles' Church, Cambridge
St Giles' Church
Castle Street
Cambridge, Cam CB3 0AQ
United Kingdom

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