Pinning The Past – Chastleton House


Pinning The Past with Ruth Singer

I first saw this house as a teenager. It was closed up, somewhat ruinous with overgrown gardens and unbearably romantic. The National Trust had just acquired it – and spent six years making it suitable to open to visitors – and it took me another 20 years or so to actually get there myself. It was worth the wait. Chastleton House, completed in 1612, is a real treat for the historical textile enthusiast.

Chastleton House - National Trust (by Ruth Singer)

There are bed hangings, curtains, tapestries, embroidered seat covers, aprons and good enough light to see and photograph them.

One of the finest textile treasures is the in-situ 17th century woven wool wall hanging or dornixwhich are listed in the 1633 inventory for the house.

By far the most astonishing feature of the house is the small chamber with walls entirely covered in embroidered hangings. It is quite amazing. There are a few photos here and a useful short history of flame stitch embroidery here which starts with a nice photo of the Chastleton hangings.  I spent quite a while in this lovely, tiny room, enjoying being surrounded by stitch. I’ve seen a lot of historical textile in my life, and this blew my mind. I can’t recommend it enough!

Chastleton House - National Trust (by Ruth Singer)-7
Chastleton House – National Trust (by Ruth Singer)

Chastleton House has been used as a filming location for the new adaptation of Wolf Hall, which is intriguing as it wasn’t built until 100+ years after the book is set. I’ll be surprised if any of these lovely textiles appear, but it is bound to make Chastleton busier, so get there in the Spring before the BBC production airs! Chastleton re-opens on 4th March 2015.

Ruth Singer Books – Get yours from our Amazon store!

Fabric Manipulation: 150 Creative Sewing Techniques by Ruth Singer
Fabric Manipulation: 150 Creative Sewing Techniques

Sew Eco: Sewing Sustainable and Re-Used Materials by Ruth Singer
Sew Eco: Sewing Sustainable and Re-Used Materials

Sew It Up: A Modern Manual of Practical and Decorative Sewing by Ruth Singer
Sew It Up: A Modern Manual of Practical and Decorative Sewing


Ruth Singer
Ruth Singer creates detailed and intriguing textile artworks inspired by historical textiles, museum objects, personal heritage, memory and stories. She uses natural and recycled textiles combined with hand stitching as well as fabric manipulation techniques to create detailed surface texture. She also writes books on textiles and sewing and teaches in her own studio as well as freelance.
Ruth Singer

@ruthsinger

Artist, maker, researcher, creative projects, consultancy, mentoring. #acesupported Projects: @mcfarlandsinger @criminalquilts @interlacecollab
RT @hauntedohiobook: #TheVictorianBookoftheDead Mourning bonnets, reticule and mourning cap. Late 19th or early 20th c. https://t.co/aSI70… - 1 month ago
Ruth Singer
Ruth Singer
Ruth Singer

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