Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Justin's cope

I've never been quite sure if I passed my 11+ or not. This is mainly due to my Mum emphasising that the adults in my life got together and decided that I would enjoy a more technical education. When it came time to choose my subjects for GCEs, I chose along with a few academic subjects to take cookery, needlework and embroidery! And the most difficult subject that I undertook was embroidery!
I not only had to know all the different stitches but I had to be able to do it and design for it and know the history of it. Like maths there were three exams to cover all aspects but the exams were far longer.
Studying for the history of embroidery entailed several visits to museums including the British Museum where we looked at copes which were hundreds of years old. They were kept in huge semi-circular wooden boxes so that they were stored flat.
A cope is the cape worn by bishops on ceremonial occasions.
Back last November, Rowan Williams handed back his cope to the people of Wales (he was previously Bishop of Wales). It is thought the the cope cost around £10,000 and was made in Wales from Welsh materials. It was hand-woven in silk, embroidered with gold wire work and lined with Welsh flannel.
For the legal ceremony yesterday, Justin wore plain black and white but at his enthronement in March he will be wearing a cope, mitre and stole. The delay between November when he was chosen until his enthronement could be because there will be some very busy people designing and making these garments. I wait with interest to see his outfit!