On Monday May 11, 2015, Margaret Watson presents the Dewsbury Tapestry to the Rector of Dewsbury the Reverend Canon Kevin Partington at Dewsbury Minster unveiled by John Flowers. The rare and beautiful tapestry which almost ended up in a jumble sale is now on display in Dewsbury Minster Church after being saved and restored by Dewsbury journalist Margaret Watson, who presented it to the church. The unveiling ceremony was organised by the Mother’s Union, who have been doing great work in the district supporting parents who have lost children.
John and his cousin, Perry Exley, of Winnipeg, Canada, have helped Margaret enormously over the years in her research on the tapestry. They still continue to do so and have presented a book to the Minster containing all their findings, including a family tree of the Imeson family going back many generations. When the unveiling took place before a packed audience at the Minster, she said the tapestry had finally come home. “But it wasn’t me who found the tapestry,” she said. “It was the tapestry which found me.”
The tapestry was created 150 years ago by Sarah Ann Imeson, in memory of nine of her children who died in infancy between 1855 and 1871. The names of the children and where they were buried are embroidered on the unique piece of art.
Margaret explained that Sarah Ann’s children were buried in the churchyard of Dewsbury Parish Church, now known as Dewsbury Minster. “These little children, like hundreds of others who died in infancy in Dewsbury, were buried in pauper’s graves without headstones,” said Margaret. “But I think this tapestry, created out of a mother’s love for her children, will be a legacy for them also.” The tapestry was unveiled at the church when Margaret gave a well-attended talk about the background of what is now being called The Dewsbury Tapestry.
Margaret said there had been many twists and turnings in the life of the Imeson Tapestry but it had now returned to where she believed Sarah Ann and Christopher would have wanted it. It was in a place where their children had lived their lives, no matter how brief, but the tapestry bearing their names had at last come home.
The Reverend Kevin Partington said the tapestry was a valuable piece of social history and the Minster was proud to accept it.