Sunday, 25 September 2022

Guild of St Clare Sponsorship Award

 We are delighted to announce the two winners of the Guild of St Clare annual sponsorship scheme for the Royal School of Needlework Certificate Course. Both are committed supporters of the work of the Guild of St Clare, and we are very happy to be able to assist them to develop their considerable talents for hand sewing. Many congratulations to Miranda de Burgh and Rosa Thurrott!

The report on this year's award in the current issue of Mass of Ages

Saturday, 16 July 2022

Booking open for Sewing Retreats in 2023

Online registration for next year's retreats is now open.


The dates are 3rd-5th February 2023 and 3rd-5th November 2023. Both will be held at Park Place Pastoral Centre.


For more information have a look at our website or watch this mini-documentary made by Peter Jones of One of Nine at our most recent retreat.

Friday, 8 July 2022

Guild of St. Clare in the news

We are very excited to be featured in LifeSiteNews, in a report which described our activities and special charism. The American journalist who wrote the story, Jean Mondoro,  confirmed our growing conviction that there is no equivalent apostolate in America or Canada: proof that, despite our small numbers here in the UK, we remain a dynamic centre for the global traditional movement thanks to the commitment of our traditional community. 

Monday, 4 July 2022

Launch of Two New Chapters

 Lucy writes: In the last two months I have been delighted to assist in the foundation of two new Guild of St Clare chapters. The first is in the idyllic setting of Withermarsh Green, where the community at Our Lady Immaculate & St Edmund are keen to support Fr Henry Whisenant's traditional apostolate there by making and caring for the vestments and altar furnishings.

It was quite a long journey for me from Oxford to Suffolk, but the church with its grounds is a Garden of Eden to the exhausted traveller! We were blessed with glorious sunshine and were able to bask in it for a while with very welcome cups of tea. 

Fr Henry had asked the group to make him several new stoles, and we started work on these, beginning with pattern-making and progressing to cutting and stitching. It wasn't possible to complete these in a day, but plans are already made for future meetings. 

The leader of this chapter is a student at the Royal School of Needlework: others among them are also experienced stitchers, and the future of this enterprise is very promising.

The journey to Manchester, for the launch of the Northern Chapter, was even longer, but the weather just as kind: the sun smiles on Guild of St Clare meetings, no matter where they are held! Some members of this group are in fact from Yorkshire, so although the first meeting was held in Lancashire a hybrid nomenclature has been settled on. It isn't attached to any particular parish; rather the idea is to provide a local network for the many traditionally-minded stitchers who find it difficult to travel to London for the regular vestment-mending workshops. There, too, we began with stole-making, and once again the previous experience of the founding members was very evident and promises well for the success of this chapter.

The publication of the document Traditionis Custodes was a shattering blow for traditionalists, and the new restrictions placed on the celebration of the traditional sacraments have been very distressing. The need for the support of a loving community has never been stronger, and these new Guild of St Clare Chapters are a direct response to that need. The work we do not only supports traditionally-minded priests in a material and necessary way, but is also itself a prayerful offering that we make for the good of the whole Church. In making that prayer together, we strengthen our own faith and that of each other. It does my heart good to see the devotion that goes into the repairs undertaken at Guild of St Clare meetings, and I would encourage anyone local to these new chapters to attend whenever possible. 

I very much look forward to travelling back to both new Chapters, to see how they are prospering and to join them in their spiritual travels through sewing.

Friday, 25 March 2022

Quarter-scale Chasuble Making at the RSN: Report

 The Guild of St Clare held its first Quarter-Scale Chasuble making day at the Royal School of Needlework on 19th March. The course was fully booked, and several participants had travelled long distances to be present. Our tutor, Heather Lewis, is a graduate Apprentice from the Royal School of Needlework, who is now based in York, but made arrangements to come to Hampton Court Palace specially to lead this workshop for us. She is an expert in liturgical needlework, and has taught our workshops at Hampton Court, on ecclesiastical embroidery and, most recently, burse-making.

It was wonderful day learning a truly exciting skill, the one most central to all our work at the Guild of St Clare. Several long-standing members were there, who despite their wealth of experience were keen to attend this ground-breaking course. 

I've made and mended many vestments myself but, as always, there was plenty of new material to learn. The Royal School of Needlework continues to teach the traditional techniques for hand embroidery and construction: every part of the chasuble is made by hand.


I was particularly interested to see Heather's technique for attaching braid to the chasuble. This, too, is done by hand: in order to avoid any wrinkles or distortion in the fabric it is kept flat on the table at all times.

It was a great pleasure spending time with the other participants, and thanks to glorious weather we had a fab lunch break together in the sunshine.

Thanks to the success of this occasion we are planning an annual day course at Hampton Court Palace, each one tackling a different skill relevant to liturgical needlework. Next year we hope to do a miniature Cope: look out for updates and information about online booking.

For more photos visit Joseph Shaw's Flickr page

Thursday, 24 March 2022

Sponsorship for the Royal School of Needlework Certificate course

A young volunteer making a stole at a Guild event.
Traditional hand embroidery techniques, required for restoration of old vestments and the construction of new ones in the traditional way, was saved from oblivion in England by the Royal School of Needlework (as it soon became), which was founded in 1872. Today the RSN is commissioned to restore antique fabrics for museums and to create things for state occasions, such as the Coronation, as well as private commissions. They pass on these precious skills to new generations of students in their courses. including the skills of traditional vestment-making.

Their Certificate in Hand Embroidery, in which students master four different techniques by doing a project in each one, could be regarded as the entry level for serious work. 

It is, naturally, expensive and time-consuming. The good news is that the Certificate Course is also extremely flexible, making it possible for students to do it at times convenient to them, over a longer of shorter period of time. 

The even better news is that in association with the Latin Mass Society (and a benefactor) the Guild of St Clare is offering sponsorship which will pay up to 50% of the tuition fees.

We have already sponsored two students, who are now nearing the end of the Certificate. This year we will be able to sponsor two students.

The deadline for applications in 24th June 2022.

Making a burse, at a Guild event.

Saturday, 12 February 2022

February 2022 Sewing Retreat: Report

 The Guild of St Clare held its eight Sewing Retreat at a new venue, Park Place Pastoral Centre. We moved here in order to be able to expand the numbers, as Douai was no longer able to accommodate very many of us. At Park Place we are back to our usual group size of twenty, which means we can build a happy and close-knit community while also getting through plenty of work. As usual we were fully booked, with participants travelling from all over the country to join in: we had representatives from Scotland, Yorkshire, Withermarsh Green and Kent, to name just a few.

We were very fortunate to have Fr Stephen Morrison OPraem from the Chelmsford Norbertines as our chaplain. Fr Stephen is a great friend of the Guild and has undertaken many repairs and vestment makes of his own. He joined in enthusiastically with the sewing, in addition to giving us spiritual conferences and celebrating daily Mass. His talks were on Our Lady and the virtue of courage: they were very helpful, and also wonderfully consolatory, in what is quite a dark and difficult time for those of us who are attached to the Traditional Mass.

We tackled a number of repairs, including the ongoing work on the Guild of St Clare's own Green Low Mass Set, a gift from Leo Darroch, former president of FIUV. We also began work on various pieces which are needed to make up incomplete Low Mass Sets, including two chalice veils and two humeral veils.

We had the pleasure of a special guest on Friday evening, the film-maker Peter Jones who is probably best-known for his popular YouTube channel, OneofNine, in which he and his wife talk to Catholic families all over the country about their very varied experiences. He has made a documentary for us which brilliantly captures the atmosphere of our retreats.

Our next Sewing Retreat, also to be held at Park Place Pastoral Centre, is in November: places are still available and can be booked online.

To view more photos visit Joseph Shaw's Flickr page

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Quarter size chasuble-making day at the Royal School of Needlework

The Guild of St Clare is delighted to announce a new one day course at the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace, making a quarter size Roman chasuble. The tuition will be provided by RSN tutor Heather Lewis, who has led previous Guild of St Clare courses at the Royal School of Needlework in ecclesiastical goldwork, stole-making and burse-making. This is a remarkable opportunity to learn the skills necessary for making a chasuble, using traditional hand-construction techniques.

It will take place on 19th March between 10am and 4pm. The price of the course is £145 including materials. Tea and coffee are provided; you will need to bring a packed lunch, or you can visit one of Hampton Court Palace's cafes.

Places are strictly limited: book now to avoid disappointment.

For more information please email Lucy on, or book through the registration link on the LMS website.

Thursday, 6 January 2022

Volunteers sought for our Vestment-Making Drive

The Guild of St Clare has been commissioned to make new pieces for a number of incomplete Low Mass Sets: maniples, chalice veils, burses and stoles. We are looking for volunteers willing to help with this work: materials will of course be provided. For each completed new piece, we will give the maker a discount of 30% to use when booking our twice annual sewing retreats (up to a maximum of 60% off per retreat).

A young member makes a Roman Purple maniple using the traditional soft-mount technique

At the Guild of St Clare we use traditional hand construction techniques to make vestments: if you would like to participate in this scheme, and have no experience of these, we will be happy to show you, and guide you through the project.

Applying braid with a sewing machine

For more information, or to volunteer, please email Lucy at

Chalice veil and burse made at the first Guild of St Clare Sewing Retreat, for the LMS Red High Mass Set

Wednesday, 5 January 2022

Member's project: chalice veil & burse

Michael Dennison, a much-valued participant at our most recent Sewing Retreat at Douai Abbey, has recently completed this most accomplished chalice veil and burse as a gift for Fr Mark Naughton. A training exercise for Michael; Christmas come early for Fr Naughton!