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The Congham Kneelers

1. Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. Wedding Kneeler. Iris Baker.

The 40 hassocks illustrate the Bible text from the Book of Proverbs Chapter 31. vs. 10 to the end and were designed in 1994 by Joan Ross. The designs were inspired by Norfolk country life and by parishioner Susan Gurney's (1915-1993) love of sewing. 
The kneelers were made by members of the Embroiderers Guild, and of the West Norfolk Needleworkers and by Susan's friends and each one measures 9 x 12 x 3 ".
The stitches used were mostly tent stitch, long-legged cross stitch and knitting stitch on a 14 count canvas. A carefully selected colour scheme was chosen over the entire set but no. 20 was an exception as scarlet was required. Three strands of 2 ply wool were used, allowing for a mixing of shades, so that colours could be graded ( as in the subtle sky of no.34). 

The Congham Embroidery

2. She seeketh wool and flax.
Claire Forbes

3. And worketh willingly with her hands
Beryl Murfitt
4. She is like the merchants ships
Barbara Sadler
5. And bringeth her food from afar
Marjorie Birch
6. She riseth while it is yet night
Juliet Webster

7. And giveth meat to her household
Sophie De Winton
8. And a portion to her maidens
Lucy Newton
9. She considereth a field and buyeth it
Daphne Harmer (aged 90 at the time)
10. With the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.                                    Lillian Perry
11. She girdeth her loins with strength
Beryl Murfitt
12. And strengtheneth her arms
Beryl Murfitt
13. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good.    Pat Westwood
14. Her candle goeth not out by night
Margaret Hodgkinson
15. She layeth her hands to the spindle
Iris Baker
16. Her hands hold the distaff.
Margaret Chance
17. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor
Margaret Hodgkinson
18. She reacheth forth her hand to the needy
Joan Thirtle
19. She is not afraid of the snow for her household
Dacha Parikh
20. For all her household are clothed in scarlet
Margaret Spray
21. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry
Claire Forbes
22. Her clothing is silk and purple
Pat Westwood
23. Her husband is known in the gates
Juliet Webster
24. Where he sitteth among the elders of the land.  Iris Baker 25. She maketh fine linen and selleth it
Margaret Hodgkinson
26. And delivereth girdles unto the merchants
Joan Steward
27. Strength and honour are her clothing
Beryl Murfitt
28. And she shall rejoice in time to come.
Betty Youngs
29. She openeth her mouth with wisdom
Margaret Spray
30. And in her tongue is the law of kindness
Daphne Harmer (aged 90 at the time)
31. She looketh well to the ways of her household
Margaret Spray
32. And eateth not the bread of idleness
Rosie Footit
33. Her children arise up and call her blessed
Margaret Spray
34. Her husband also he praiseth her.
Margaret Spray
35. Many Daughters have done virtuously
Marjorie Birch
36. But Thou excellest them all
Margaret Spray
37. Favour is deceitful and beauty is vain
Margaret Hodgkinson

38. But a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall
be praised.                                  
Marianne Pitt

39. Give her the fruit of her hands
Mollie Richards
40. Let her own works praise her in the gates.
Joan Thirtle

All photographs © Tony Scase News Services Ltd.

Additional notes: No.11 .The Angel on horseback design from Kimberley Church pulpit fall inspired by 12th century Opus Anglicanum in the Victoria & Albert Museum.   No. 26 Bishop Tony Foottit's cope designed by Isobel Clover and worked by Susan Gurney.   No.33. Rope ladder and 5 children sitting on a "maufrey" a two tier Norfolk cart designed for hay on top and roots below.   No. 36. Based on the design of the Provost's seat in Eton College Chapel by Constance Howard and the Eton College Coat of Arms. "Floreat Etons" was the battle cry of Robert Elwes as he shouted to another Eton boy "Come along Monk - we must be in the front rank - Floreat Etona!" and was shot dead immediately. There is a memorial plaque to him in the chancel.

All of the Congham Kneelers  and those in other parts of the country can be seen here.


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