St Cuthbert Maniple and Stole

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The St Cuthbert set of vestments are the best preserved examples of Anglo-Saxon embroidery. They are worked with goldthread and coloured silks in stem stitch, split stitch and surface Couching Work. These vestments are covered in figures, who are archtypes rather than individuals.

It seems likely that the work was done in Winchester, the capital of Saxon England. These works are of a more formal structure than the earlies Maaseik Embroidery. The Durham work was influenced by the Carolingian manuscripts of Tours in France. These in turn influenced the Winchester school of manuscript painting. Even at this early stage we seen the interplay between the various arts in the production of embroidery designs.

Stitches and Techniques


Designs were influenced by other decorative arts of the time, especially manuscript painting. Manuscript artists may have been employed to mark fabrics for embroiderers.

Extant Pieces

  • St Cuthbert Maniple and Stole, around AD 915, Durham Cathedral Library, England, Neg. Nos. 74500 and 74501

External Links

Sources for Further Information

  • Ivy, Jill. Embroideries at Durham Cathedral. Durham: Dean and Chapter of Durham, 1997. ISBN 0-907078-32-X. - Color photos, technical analysis, and descriptions of the 10th-century stole, maniple, and girdle of St. Cuthbert
  • Bridgeman, Harriet and Drury, Elizabeth, Edited by: "Needlework: an illustrated history", New York: Paddington Press (1978). ISBN: 0448220660