Every historian in England will be aware of this week’s fantastic news that the Bayeux Tapestry (Tapisserie de Bayeux) is expected to be loaned to England in the next few years. We are predicting an up-coming announcement from president Emmauel Macron that the tapestry will be transported over-seas to and held in one of a list of locations in the United Kingdom, whilst the Bayeux Museum in France is closed for refurbishment. There are many ideas floating about with regard to where the Bayeux tapestry might be held during this time: The British Museum is the obvious favourite, and other contenders for the honour of the temporary possession include Westminster Cathedral, Canterbury Cathedral and we are excited to hear that Battle Abbey is another contender for this honour.
The battle of Hastings took place in 1066 and lasted just one day (14th October). The battle was between the Anglo-Saxon English and the invading Norman Army. It ended in a victory for the Norman Army, which led to the Duke of Normandy, William, being crowned as the King of England. This happened 10 weeks after the conquest of England was successful. The Bayeux Tapestry depicts the events which occurred on the lead up to the Battle taking place, from the eyes of the Norman’s. It is thought that the tapestry was created in England, rather than Bayeux, by the half-brother of King William, Bishop Odo in the 1070’s.
The tapestry has never before left France, in the 950 years since it was created. Britain did request to borrow it twice before, once in 1953 for the Queen’s coronation and again in 1966, on the 900th anniversary of the battle. Both of these requests were unfortunately turned down, which makes the predicted news of its loan even more exciting for British citizens. The loan will of course be subject to the safety of moving it, as it must be ensured that it will be preserved in it’s original condition on the journey over. This means that it is unlikely that it will be on English soil until at least 2020, but more likely 2022.