The Kneeler Saga


March 2017 update: The latest kneeler to be put in the church is in memory of Anne Wright. There are no kneelers being worked at the moment. If you would like to work a kneeler, the canvas and background wool are provided, you choose your own ‘picture’. They are finished by stitching the side panels together at the corners, lacing the canvas around an industrial foam insert, attaching two rings and stitching a hessian backing to the base. This is all done very neatly by Brenda Phillips with Allan making sure there are the correct hooks in the pews.

Spring 2016 update: One kneeler has gone away for stretching, i.e. to make the canvas straight and square ready for the foam insert. A second one has just been started in memory of Ann Wright.

If anyone would like to work a kneeler, please contact me. The canvas marked out and background wool provided - you choose your own design for the top.

Liz Aswell, 01993 703534,
liz@southleigh.info

Autumn 2013 update: Two more kneelers have been completed and I am currently fitting the foam insert, attaching the loops with ’D’ rings and sewing on the hessian backing. Two more kneelers are at the planning stage.

I was approached by two people at the Summer Fayre who wished to work a kneeler. I have made contact with one lady who now has the canvass and background wool and is planning her design. I cannot remember who the second person was! If it was you, please contact me again. I have the canvass and background wool here for you.

Summer 2013 update: One kneeler is awaiting stretching and there is another one being worked. If you would like to stitch a kneeler please contact me. The canvass and background wool are provided. You may choose your own design for the top. If it is in memory of someone, the name and dates can be worked into the bottom flap.

Spring 2013 update: Three completed kneelers have been put in the church. There is one new one being designed at the moment. The plan is to depict a steam train in Southleigh Station. If anyone wishes to stitch a kneeler, perhaps in memory of someone, the canvass & background wool are provided and you may choose your own 'picture'.

Spring 2012 update: There are currently two kneelers in progress. If anyone would like to work a kneeler please contact me. The canvas and background wool are provided and you may choose your own design for the top.

Winter 2011 update: Two more completed kneelers have been put in the church. One depicts 'The shop' in Station Road, now White Cottage and the other is a cat stitched by a mother in memory of her daughter. One kneeler with a Christmas theme is in progress. If you would like to work a kneeler the canvas and background wool will be provided. The choice of design for the top is yours.

Spring 2011 update: Four more kneelers have been completed and hung in the church. There is just one being worked on at the moment.

In April 2009, we visited Devon and there we found a Southleigh and a Northleigh. In the tiny hamlet of Southleigh, there is St. Lawrence's Church which looked amazingly like our own St. James the Great. It has a square tower with bells and charity boards describing the distribution of money. There was a pulpit nearly identical to the one here and pews. There was a flower rota and cleaning rota both full of different names. On the table we found the 'Kneeler Saga' text below which made us smile.


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Once a year Southleigh village gathers in St. Lawrence's Church to give it a good Spring Clean, armed with brushes, ladders and mops. The year 2000 deserved an extra scrub we decided, so we managed to lasso several strong men to help. One of them, having climbed ladders, removed ceiling cobwebs and dusted tops of windows, offered to take the old hassocks and kneelers outside and give them a good bashing.

Soon the entire churchyard was filled with whirling clouds of dust. Choking and spluttering, he put his head round the church door and said "What you need are some nice new kneelers, these are a load of old rubbish".

He was right of course, so then and there the rest of us decided we had better do something about it. Those who could sew offered to make some; those who couldn't volunteered to donate some; one marvelous person made a beautiful hanging for the lectern and another - mother of a small child to boot - managed to finish one of the three long alter-rail kneelers - two more are being worked.

We were lucky in getting a grant from Rural Crafts which almost covered the full cost of these.

The only problem now is that the lovely new kneelers - all different designs, as each person chooses from a varied catalogue - make the few remaining ones even worse. So our aim is to find enough money to carry on sewing until the whole Church is filled with lovely colourful patterns. Some have been donated in memory of a loved one, so future churchgoers can look at the label on the base and think about those who used to worship at St. Lawrence's, Southleigh.