Many visitors to St John’s are inspired and intrigued by the large tapestry hung on the back wall of the Hall. The central component is a copy of a Byzantine icon, worked on 39 panels covering 30 metres of canvas. This icon was blessed by Bishop Patrick Roger at the Confirmation Service held on 25th March 1986. The surrounding panels, representing St John’s and St Mary’s Kidlington were then worked and show a wide range of flora and fauna, including 89 fish and over 21 birds. The final tapestry measures 13 feet by 10 feet and was blessed at St John’s Patronal Festival on 24th June 1990 by the Venerable Archdeacon Frank Weston.
Over 70 individuals sponsored the panels and over 50 people were involved in the embroidery, the youngest being a boy of six who embroidered the red spider hanging under the blackberries. Others were involved in the construction and erection of the completed tapestry, including young people from the H.M. Young Offenders Institution Campsfield House, who made the underlying frame.
Our grateful thanks go to all those involved in this activity, but especially to Iris Darvill who designed the work and led the project from conception to completion.
Iris also worked the St John’s embroidery sometimes used as a frontal, but usually hanging on display in the hall. The small iris flower in the bottom left-hand corner is a reminder for us all.
Many other people have offered their talents and creativity to provide beautiful items for our use, including a number of altar vestments, lectern hangings, kneelers, an altar day cloth and a working of the Lord’s Prayer.
We thank them all.