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Housing staff present 125-year-old tapestry to St Giles Church

28 December 2017


An estate manager from a Hanover Housing Association estate in Leicester has presented a 125-year-old tapestry to a 12th century church in Oxfordshire.

The presentation was the result of some persistent detective work from Estate Manager Marion Waddington, who discovered the family heirloom after one of her residents Aileen Gillian moved out of her flat in Hanover Close, Leicester.

The tapestry was created in the late 19th century by Aileen's great aunt, Annie Gardener. It depicts the view of St Giles Church, Newington Village, Oxfordshire.

During her investigation, Marion discovered that Annie Gardner was born deaf in 1870. After learning sign language at the age of 15, she went to live with her father at Newington House where he was the coachman. It is thought that she created the tapestry between 1890 and 1900.

Following the death of her father, Annie went to live with her uncle in Tilehurst, Reading. She died in 1914 at the age of 44. It is thought that Annie left the tapestry to her uncle before it was passed down through the generations.

Marion said: 'I have to admit that being a fan of Heir Hunters and Miss Marple I enjoyed the challenge of uncovering the history surrounding the tapestry.'

'After tracking down various generations of Annie Gardner’s relatives and some desk research,I was able to present the tapestry to St Giles Church.'

Tina Derrick, Churchwarden at St Giles Church, said: ‘It’s a lovely piece of local history and we are delighted to have it as part of the church’s treasures.”

The tapestry will be on show at the Christmas services and will be displayed in the church once various remedial works have been carried out.