Earl of Pembroke William Marshal honoured with tapestry

Pamela Earl with the tapestry
Image caption The idea for the tapestry came from amateur historian Pamela Earl

A tapestry which took five years to create has been unveiled in a Welsh town in honour of one of its greatest historical figures.

Earl of Pembroke William Marshal was made a Templar Knight in 1219, served five kings and was one of the curators and signatories of the Magna Carta.

Seven women from Lewes in Sussex spent 8,000 hours on the work to mark the 800th anniversary of his death.

The tapestry was unveiled at Pembroke Castle on Tuesday.

Based on the Bayeux Tapestry, the work was revealed as part of the castle's William Marshal Festival to celebrate the life of a man many consider to be the greatest knight of the Middle Ages.

The tapestry was the idea of Pamela Earl, an amateur medieval historian who discovered Marshal while a student in the United States.

Ms Earl said she had been introduced to Marshal by the historical film, The Lion in Winter, and Alison Weir's book Eleanor of Aquitaine.

"It was my involvement with the Battle of Lewes in 2014 that I realised the 800th anniversary of Marshal's death was 2019," said Ms Earl, who studied in Boston, Massachusetts in the 1980s.

"I was compelled to mark this occasion in the form of a tapestry. And the work must hang in Pembroke Castle."

Image copyright Kjetil Bjørnsrud
Image caption William Marshal's tomb effigy is on display at Temple Church in London

Creating the tapestry took a year of research and four years of embroidery, and it contains 18 different colours of Appleton crewel wool.

Pembroke Castle agreed to display the tapestry in museum conditions.

The town of Pembroke is trying to raise about £60,000 in order to build a statue of Marshal in the castle grounds.

It follows a successful campaign to install a £45,000 statue of Pembroke's most famous son, Henry Tudor, on a bridge in the town.

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