The tapestry itself is slightly over 70 meters long by about half a meter wide. To be correct it is not technically a tapestry at all but an embroidery. It is unknown who commissioned it, or who did the actual work, but the current belief is that Bishop Odo, who at many points appears as the central figure, may have been responsible.(66) In France the tapestry is known as Matilda's tapestry. Matilda was William's wife. William was one of the few monarchs who at that time remained faithful to his wife throughout his complete reign, enjoying a large family. A number of stories indicate a strong bond between William and Matilda that was uncommon for a monarch in a period when women played a minor role in affairs of state. It was Matilda who is said to have commissioned William's ship, said to be called the Mora, for the Invasion as well as the tapestry. It is therefore possible that although there appears to be no written evidence of Matilda's involvement her influence was such that the tapestry has acquired her name.
Recent analysis of the embroidery style and the use of spelling in the Saxon manner, as well as spelling mistakes in the Latin, suggest that contrary to past belief it was probably made at Canterbury in Kent, England.(67) Canterbury was at that time one of Europe's leading embroidery schools and by way of circumstantial evidence Bishop Odo became Earl of Kent after the Conquest. The size and speed with which it was designed and completed indicates a considerable production process that could only have been completed at one of the major schools of embroidery.
The most remarkable element of the tapestry is its authentic traceable pedigree and the faithful cartoon like description of events. There are many mysterious elements that historians have found impossible to equate. I believe that it is far more faithful to the events of the time than has previously been given credit. In particular I believe that the tapestry is not only faithful to the types and style of dress and armour but is also faithful in building and land descriptions. Dr Marjorie Chibnall, in her critique confirms that this view is supported by at least three other eminent historians, including Arnold Taylor's paper (Vol XIV) on "Belrem", Derek Renn's (XVI) on "Burgheat and gonfanon" and Nicholas Brooke's general survey in the first volume. This is contrary to current thinking and shall demonstrate the accuracy of the text in relation to the landing site in order to justify this position.
It can be reasonably argued that if the designer was so absolutely
exact in relation to clothing and events, why should he then seek
to ignore accuracy regarding the important matters of detail on
the major factors, such as the buildings and the geographical
nature of the terrain. Whilst it is noted that maps up to at least
the 16th century were notoriously inaccurate the Bayeux Tapestry
relates a story and in this respect portrays events in locations.
The very cartoon nature of the pictures requires details of location
to provide the setting for the story. Those locations where only
known to those who attended and in consequence, if I am correct,
provide a number of clues to the location of the landing and the
camp that can only be correctly interpreted by application to
the actual landing site. It might also be argued that anyone living
at the time might have a knowledge of dress, armour and ships
of the time - but not of the geography local to the Battle. It
is this reason why the Bayeux Tapestry provides invaluable clues
that cannot be ignored. Only someone who had been to the site
would have included the correct details, which can only apply
to the landing site, thus proving the designer had first hand
knowledge of the events portrayed.
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