The Guild and the Royal School of Needlework

The Guild of St Clare at the RSN in Hampton Court

The Royal School of Needlework (RSN) was established in 1872 to revive, employ, and pass on historic hand embroidery and related skills. As well as conservation work for museums, they make and repair liturgical items for major churches and undertake commissions from the Royal Family. The RSN represents the gold standard both in terms of the authenticity of historic techniques, and the high level of skills successful completion of its courses implies.

Many Guild members have done training with the RSN, including the Certificate and Diploma, and are on hand at Guild events to advise and teach others as necessary.

To make these skills more widely available for the Guild’s projects, the Guild encourages members to train with the RSN. In particular:

RSN Sponsorship Scheme: The Guild sponsors one or two students each year to begin the Certificate Course. The sponsorship scheme is advertised online and in Mass of Ages each Spring; the deadline for applications is in late June, so students can start the course in September. The Certificate Course is highly flexible and can be done at whatever pace fits in with a student’s other commitments. It can be done at the RSN headquarters at Hampton Court in West London, or at its satellite centres in different parts of the country.


Annual Training Day at Hampton Court: The Guild organises an annual one-day course through the RSN in a technique especially useful to members. Recent years have seen a course in ecclesiastical embroidery, burse-making, and in making a quarter-scale chasuble. During the Covid lockdown the Guild organised an online stole-making course.

These events take place in the early spring, and are advertised in Mass of Ages, on the LMS Events Calendar and the Guild of St Clare blog, and through the email list.

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