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The Hartlebury Millennium Kneelers

To mark the Millennium our then rector, Rev Marj. Stanton-Hyde and her Churchwardens decided to inaugurate a scheme for 100 new kneelers for St James' Parish Church. The P.C.C. looked to me as I had a 'sewing' background and had worked with a group of experienced members of the congregation on kneelers for the Bishop's throne and clergy stalls in 1996.

The colours are based on the paintwork of the ribs of the nave roof and the existing carpets, with the addition of gold. The canvas chosen was a bold rug canvas which only needs five cross stitches to the inch, so it would not require too many hours stitching nor be too detailed for those not used to fine work. In fact many people had little or no embroidery experience and the three gentlemen did their first stitching ever. For the most experienced workers there was a chart made for the same shell design but in 7 stitches to the inch and this gives a very pleasing finer result.


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The age of the workers ranged from 11 to 89 years and many people found the work to be enjoyable and relaxing. Some enjoyed the challenge of the counted design details; others enjoyed the peaceful areas of plain stitching. There was a suggested design for the border around the top but people were encouraged to design their own variation using the two shades of mid and light blue. It was amazing how ingenious some were, with variations on initials etc.

Several kneelers were worked with the initials of someone who the sewer admired for their service to the community. Some celebrate departed loved ones, several weddings, baptisms and a number of grandchildren and husbands. In November 1999 over 80 kneelers were complete and a Dedication Service was held led by our priest in charge, Rev. Pete Worrall. By Easter 2000 there were 12 choir kneelers using the same coloured wools but with bars of favourite hymn music as the motifs. One or two members of the choir plus 85 year old John Davies helped with these. And in July 2001 the three long communion rail kneelers were dedicated. These were worked by a number of sewers as the design was planned in sections to make this possible.

I believe that all the workers feel a sense of satisfaction that their long hours of stitching are well rewarded, as a celebration of the new millennium and to the glory of God in Hartlebury.

Jennifer Stuart,

Project Designer and Organiser