Friday 19 April 2024

Invitation for applications for the RSN Sponsorship Scheme

 The Guild of St Clare is delighted to announce that we will shortly be making our annual award of sponsorship on the prestigious Royal School of Needlework Certificate Course. The course teaches four embroidery techniques, and is extremely flexible. Students can study it intensively, or spread it over as much as four years, and the skills learned are essential to the art of making and mending vestments. As a condition of acceptance, successful candidates must take part in at least one Guild of St Clare Sewing Retreat each year.

The Guild of St Clare Dalmatic Making class at the RSN, March 2024

The deadline for applications is 23rd June; we will hold interviews in July. More information, including details on how to apply, can be found here. If you have any questions email Lucy on .

Wednesday 17 April 2024

Running to raise funds for the Guild of St Clare

 Lucy writes: The work of the Guild of St Clare is growing rapidly, especially through our network of local Chapters; we need money for materials and equipment, and to this end I am running the Oxford Town & Gown 10k on 12th May. 

After the Oxford Half 2023

I last ran this race in 2021, when I managed a time of 58:28; this time, I'm aiming for 60 minutes. If all goes well, I will start preparing for the Oxford Half Marathon in October. Those interested can check my stats on Strava!

Many thanks indeed to all those who support us, both financially and spiritually; we pray for you.

Benediction at the Sewing Retreat, November 2023

Monday 25 March 2024

Passiontide veils at St Bede's

The London Chapter has recently completed Passiontide veils to be used at St Bede's, Clapham Park.
One is for a new statue of St Anne, and the other for the Sacred Heart. A wonderful Lenten alms from the Chapter to the parish: special thanks to Verena Windsor, Chapter Leader, for organising this special seasonal project.

Saturday 23 March 2024

Online booking opens for the Autumn Sewing Retreat

Booking is now open for the Guild of St Clare Autumn Retreat, taking place between 8th and 10th November 2024. We are delighted to be able to confirm that our chaplain will be Fr Stephen Morrison OPraem of the Peckham Norbertines, a great friend of the Guild of St Clare and keen needleworker.
As usual, there will be plenty of vestment repairs to do, as well as the option of making a new vestment for those interested in practising the art of traditional hand construction. As well as the liturgy we will have spiritual conferences, given by Fr Stephen, and plenty of opportunities to drink tea and eat biscuits. The Retreat will take place at St Joseph's Centre, Ashurst, near Southampton. Places are strictly limited so don't delay in registering.

Thursday 21 March 2024

Miniature Dalmatic Making at the Royal School of Needlework

The Guild of St Clare annual class at the Royal School of Needlework took place last Saturday, 16th March; this year we tackled a new skill, learning miniature Dalmatics.

Our class was led, as in previous years, by Heather Lewis, an RSN graduate Apprentice who specialises in ecclesiastical needlework. The Guild of St Clare is enormously indebted to Heather for her expertise which she has shared with us over many years, and her generosity in travelling from York, where she now lives, in order to tutor us at Hampton Court Palace.

She brought her own exquisitely made miniature Dalmatic to show us.

Making a Dalmatic is relatively complex in comparison with other vestments, and even the quite experienced vestment makers amongst us had to concentrate hard to understand the instructions.

The course was extremely popular, despite the rather esoteric subject, and it sold out online before the close of registrations. I was pleased to see several faces new to the Guild of St Clare.

The annual RSN class is always a sociable occasion, and the weather was sufficiently clement to allow us to lunch outside in the beautiful grounds of Hampton Court Palace.

Heather and I are already planning next year's course. As it happens, Heather has a book coming out within the next few months (it is hoped!), on the subject of vestments and ecclesiastical embroidery, and we are thinking of taking a project from that. More details to follow!


Tuesday 19 March 2024

Monthly Vestment Mending in Oxford

The Oxford Chapter is delighted to announce the launch of regular monthly vestment mending meetings. These will take place in the parish hall at St Gregory & St Augustine, 322 Woodstock Road, Oxford, between 2pm and 5pm. The first meeting will be held on 6th April. Clare Auty, the leader of the Chapter, writes: "Vestments to be mended or made at all levels of ability will be available, and training will be given. A basic sewing kit will be needed, but I’ll try and have most things available to borrow, so don’t worry if you don’t have one. Children are very welcome to come, either to learn to sew or so that Mum is able to come." 

Meetings will be on the first Saturday of each month; this is subject to variation, depending on the availability of the hall. For more information, please contact Clare on .

Monday 11 March 2024

First meeting of the East Kent Chapter

 Lucy writes: I was delighted to join the East Kent Chapter for their inaugural meeting on 9th March at the beautiful Shrine of St Augustine in Ramsgate, designed by Pugin.

The altar of St Augustine's, viewed from above the sacristy

As might be expected in such a prestigious church, many of the vestments are original to its foundation, and indeed are believed to have been designed by Pugin himself. These vestments are in remarkably good condition, a tribute to the care lavished on them by the sacristan there. The repairs will be entrusted to the new Chapter, a great privilege.

I was impressed by the enthusiasm of the founding members of the Chapter, and their high level of skill. The Cope pictured below was in need of patching in several places: by the end of the afternoon, it was half completed, and the Chapter hopes to finish it at the next meeting.

The Chapter is under the leadership of Gerrie Serpell, an erstwhile (and much missed) member of the Oxford Chapter, skilled not only in embroidery and vestment making, but also in bobbin lace. The launch of the East Kent Chapter has been made possible by her generous desire to serve the Church and share her skills.

I was delighted to see Fr Basden, the parish priest and custodian of the Shrine, who popped in to see how we were getting on. Fr Basden is a much-loved priest of Southwark diocese, and a well-known bulwark of the Traditional Mass there.

The East Kent Chapter plans to meet monthly at the Shrine: new members are welcome. For more information, click here or email Gerrie on