New World Tapestry

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The panels

The New World Tapestry, which in its entirety measures 267 ft x 4 ft (81.3 m x 1.2 m), consists of twenty four panels, each of which depicts the narrative of a particular phase in the period between 1583 and 1642.

Each panel measures 11 ft x 4 ft (3.4m x 1.2m).

The figures of the tapestry are rendered in an unmistakably modern, cartoon-like style, but it also follows in the tradition of Tudor and Jacobean canvas work embroidery. The panels are worked in gobelin stitch which entirely covers the ground, and along with pictures of the main scenes of the story, the panels also feature birds, animals, flowers and insects all beautifully worked in bold colours.

“Bristol and the New World”, Aztecs at MexicoLore        

The 24 Panels of the New World Tapestry







Expedition to Newfoundland

Humphrey Gilbert, Captain William Winter, Robert Davis, Edward Hayes, Richard Clarke, William Cox, Captain Cade, Thomas Edmondes, Thomas Aldworth, Gilbert Staplehill

Common Mallow, Soapwort, Dandelion, Thrift, Daisy, Jessamine, Bistort, Purple Iris, Cleavers, Heartsease, Yarrow



First Expedition to Roanoke

Walter Raleigh, Philip Amadas, William Grenville, John Wood, Richard Hakluyt, Henry Greene, William Sanderson, Josias Calmady, John Dee, Thomas Harriot, John Sparke

Foxglove, Plum, Dock, Peach, Corn Marigold, St John’s wort, Pear, Succory, Hollyhock, Cowslip, Tobacco



Second Expedition to Roanoake

Richard Grenville, Edward Kelley, John White, Thomas Wise, Robert Masters, John Stukley, Christopher Broking, John Arundel, Edward Gorges, Thomas Cavendish, Walter Raleigh

Honeysuckle, Dovesfoot, Saxifrage, Bramble, Melilot, Peppermint, Oxeye daisy, Wild Pink, Mullein, Potato, Hop



Roanoke Colony and Fort Raleigh

Francis Walsingham, Ralph Lane, John Harris, Francis Drake, Philip Sidney, Richard Grenville, Thomas Ford, Thomas Luddington, George Raymond, Marmaduke Constable, David Williams

Scabious, Parsley, Broad Leaved Dock, Good King Henry, Betony, Weld, Alkanet, Crosswort, Columbine, Hazel, Nonesuch



Fourth year on Roanoke Island

John White, George Howe, Edward Spicer, Roger Pratt, Edward Stafford, Roger Bayle, John Humphrey, George Maynard, Ananias Dare, Eleanor Dare, Virginia Dare

Bird-foot-trefoil, Burdock, Houseleek, Chervil, Forget-me-not, Bugle, Tutsan, Bladder Campion, Pimpernel, Strawberry, Thyme

1588- 1590


End of the Roanoke Colony

Richard Grenville, William Winter, John Hawkins, Francis Drake, Anthony Cage, George More, Martin Frobisher, Robert Hughes, Lord Howard of Effingham, Christopher Cooper, Thomas Stevens

Basil, Briar Rose, Bay, Periwinkle, Feverfew, Tansy, Willow Herb, Elder, Borage, Alexanders, Comfrey

1595- 1596


Expedition to the Guyanas

Walter Raleigh, Lawrence Kemys, Anthony Ashley, John Donne, Thomas Howard, John Hartington, Robert Devereux, Francis Vere, Charles Howard, George Carew, Thomas Bodley

Globe Thistle, Stitchwort, Orpine, Water lily, Black Poplar, Wormwood, Winter savory, Dill, Bell heather, Flax, Sneezewort

1602- 1603


Expedition to Cape Cod

Bartholomew Gosnold, Gabriel Archer, William Strete, John Brereton, John Popham, John Hele, William Parker, Bartholomew Gilbert, Thomas Walker, Edward Hayes, Walter Raleigh

Red Valerian, Squill, Toadflax, Plymouth Thistle, Archangel, Vervain, Hedge mustard, Lily of the Valley, Self heal, Buttercup, Majoram



Expedition to Maine

George Waymouth, Henry Wriothesley, Walter Mathew, Wiliam Rosecarrock, Ferdinando Gorges, John Popham, Robert Martin, Thomas Arundell, Richard Aldworth, Thomas Smythe, James Rosier

White Rose, Violet, Groundsel, Rest Harrow, Knapweed, Lady Bedstraw, Bluebell, Fennel, Clowns Ringwort, Lady Mantle, Tare



Plymouth Company and London Company

John Popham, William Parker, George Popham, Raleigh Gilbert, Thomas Hanham, John Maddock, John Dodderidge, William Waad, James Bagg, Henry Challons, Martin Pring

Cotton Lavender, Lemon balm, Bittersweet, Willow Tree, Celandine, Meadowsweet, Red Campion, Bugloss, Woad, Thistle, Fumitory



Jamestown Settlement

Christopher Newport, Bartholomew Gosnold, Henry Montagu, Robert Cecil, John Smith, Chief Powhatan, George Percy, John Ratcliffe, Walter Cope, Edward Maria Wingfield, Robert Killigrew

Lady Smock, Furze, Poppy, Privet, Primrose, Pink Rose, Bindweed, Pellitory, Cornflower, Rue, Plantain

1607- 1608


Expedition to Maine, Popham Colony (Sagadahoc)

Francis Popham, William Parker, Matthew Sutcliffe, Richard Champernoune, Thomas Horner, Edward Rodgers, John Mallet, Raleigh Gilbert, George Popham, Roger Warre, Abraham Jennings

Ground Ivy, Ragwort, Great Willowherb, Agrimony, Teasel, Rocket, Germander, Oak, Dovesfoot, Ribwort, Sage

1609- 1610


Bermuda claimed after Sea Venture shipwreck

Thomas Campbell, William Godolphin, William Shakespeare, William Strachey, Thomas Gates, William Craven, George Somers, Matthew Somers, Henry Wriothesley, Richard Frobisher, Robert Aldworth

Yellow Iris, Orach, Rose, Hawkweed, Wood Sorrel, Water mint, Yellow Poppy, Gentian, Biting Stonecrop, Solomon Seal, Goldenrod

1613- 1614


Jamestown Settlement grows

Samuel Argall, Pocahontas, John Rolfe, Thomas Dale, Thomas Smythe, John Borlase, Prince Charles, John Scobie, Richard Buck, Thomas Hayes, Thomas Savage, John Smith

Spurge, Horehound, Tormentil, Love in a Mist, Sloe, Eyebright, Red Clover, Oxlip, Marshmallow, Garlic, Sow Thistle



John Rolfe brings Pocahontas to England

Michael Drayton, John Rolfe, John Smith, Thomas West, William Shakespeare, John Leman, Edward Lawrence, Thomas Dale, John King, George Yeardley, Ben Jonson

Clary, Rhubarb, Great Burnet, Mercury, Scurvy-grass, Sea holly, Wallflower, Purple loosestrife, Water Ragwort, Figwort, Lime Tree

1617- 1618


Failure of Raleigh Expedition to the Guyanas

Roger North (Oyapoc), Robert Trelawney, Henry Rolfe, Lewis Stukley, Henry Montagu, Robert Tounson, Samuel Argall, Nicholas Frankwell, Walter Raleigh, John Bingley, Edward Coke

Tamarisk, Nepeta, Tarragon, Hellebore, Sweet William, Cherry, Prince of Wales Feathers, Holly Tree, Gooseberry, Mouse Ear, Mulberry



House of Burgesses, Slaves and Bartered Brides

George Yeardley, William Paget, Henry and Thomas Lyle, William Cavendish, William Herbert, John Mason, Edward Seymour, William Cockayne, Robert Spencer, William Tucker, Edwin Sandys

Chickweed, Wortleberry, Service Tree, Cocks Head, Woodrush, Opium poppy, Avens, Onion, Yam, Beech, Orchis



Mayflower Compact

John Robinson, Edward Winslow, William Brewster, Henry Wallis, Ferdinando Gorges, William Bradford, Gerryt Lanaertz, Edward Richards, John Plumleigh, Thomas Fownes, John Carver

Speedwell, Chamomile, Mayflower, Valerian, Rosemary, Lavender, Nettle, Herb Robert, Wild Arum, Ivy, Spearmint

1621- 1623


Indian Raids, beginning of New Hampshire

David Thompson, Leonard Pomeroy, John Mason, Thomas Hobson, Robert Rich, Abraham Colmer, Edward Hilton, Robert Gorges, Alexander Shapleigh, Myles Standish, Thomas Weston

Indian Corn, Crab Apple, Barberry, French Lungwort, White clover, Barren Strawberry, Lungwort, Runner bean, Currant, Horse Chestnut, Lilac

1624- 1630


Massachusetts Bay Colony, Dorchester Company

John White, John Warham, John Wolstenholm, Roger Conant, Thomas Morton, Edward Rossiter, Thomas Holcombe, Roger Clap, Jonathan Gillett, John Endecott, James Gould

Rocket, Snowdrop, Pasque flower, Garlic Mustard, Hyssop, Wolf Bane, Cranesbill, Dead Nettle, Elm, Leopard’s bane, Fritillary



Massachusetts Bay Colony, John Winthrop

Adam Winthrop, William Laud, Richard Saltonstall, Hugh Peter, Matthew Craddock, Isaac Johnson, John Winthrop, Emmanuel Downing, William Coddington, William Pynchon, John Underhill

Loosestrife, Musk Mallow, Hounds-Tongue, White Bryony, Hairless Catmint, Spindle, Organy, Jacob Ladder, American Winter Cress, Brooklime, Campion

1628- 1634


Calvert family and the Province of Maryland

George Calvert, Cecil Calvert, Leonard Calvert, Richard Blount, Thomas Dorrell, Thomas Cornwallis, Richard Gerard, Jerome Hawley, Henrietta Maria, Edward Winter, Jerome Weston, Nicholas Ferfax

Dyer Greenweed, Quince, Scarlet Pimpernel, Nettleleaved Bellflower, Sea Beet, Asparagus, Sand Spurrey, Meadow Clary, Marsh Marigold, Monkshood, Sweet Cicely

1635- 1641


New England, Harvard College and Taunton

Nicholas Frost, Anne Hutchinson, John Eliot, Nathaniel Eaton, Henry Dunster, Thomas Gorges, Roger Williams, Drapers Company, John Harvard, Elizabeth Pole

Pennyroyal, Scabwort, Astrantia, Vetch, Wayfaring Tree, Dark Mullein, Centaury, Green Alkanet, Saxifrage, Corn Cockle, Sweet Woodruff



Great gardeners and herbalists. English Civil War begins

William Turner, Edward Seymour, Henry Lyte, Robert Cecil, Thomas Johnson, Nicholas Culpeper, John Gerard, John Tradescant the elder, John Parkinson, Henry Danvers, John Tradescant the younger

Simpson, Fleabane, Pot Marigold, Scots Rose, Stag Horn Sumach, Larkspur, Navelwort, Wild Candytuft, Spiderwort, Charlock, Aster

The creation of the tapestry

The designer was Tom Mor, who also designed the Plymouth Tapestry at Prysten House, Plymouth, the Adventurers for Virginia (London) Tapestry, and was the consultant on the Jersey Liberation Tapestry (St Helier, Channel Islands) and the Plympton Tapestry (Plympton, Devon). The panel was researched by Tom Mor, Tom Maddock, Paul Presswell and Freda Simpson. Chief tapissiers were Joan Roncarelli and Rene Harvey. A New World Tapestry Website has been developed as of December 2008 and will soon include 120 pages, showing all complete panels.

Research for the New World Tapestry twenty four panels began in 1980. Tom Mor was joined by Tom Maddock, a retired friend from Ivybridge. Over the months they travelled hundreds of miles together, researching the two hundred sixty four people who would be named on the tapestry. Heraldic expert Paul Presswell of Buckfastleigh identified all the Coats of Arms of the people, colleges and companies involved. The result has been the creation alongside the tapestry of a library of files on each person and a collection of reference books of great use to researchers, scholars and teachers.

Two hundred sixty four armorial shields run along the top and bottom tapestry borders throughout its length, alternating with illustrations of the same number of flowers of herbs, medicinal plants, trees and shrubs. The latter are shown because the colonists took ointments and cure-alls with them on their voyages and plant hunters returned with such things as the potato and tobacco.

All the flowers and florets depicted were drawn from nature by Tom Mor, who studied them under a watchmaker glass. He was helped from the very early days by Freda Simpson of Plymouth, who was passionately interested in herbs and old herbal remedies. She identified and gave him over 230 flower specimens in the years that Mor lived with his wife and family in Plymouth. Later they moved to Cambridge were he was able to complete the set of 264 drawings with the help of Clive King and Caroline Lawes of the Cambridge University Botanic Garden, Lady Jane Renfrew of Lucy Cavendish College and Alison Davies, Monica Stokes and Edna Norman.

The stitchers

Tom Mor could not have seen his canvasses brought to life without the help of his friends and the expertise of the dedicated tapissiers. When the very first stitch was made in the New World Tapestry in 1980, the team working in Prysten House numbered 20. By the time the last stitch was made in March 2000, the number of tapissiers had increased to 256 with the addition of another eight centres. In Devon there was a second in Plymouth at HMS Drake (the Royal Navy panel), Ivybridge, Chillington, Exeter, Bideford, Totnes and Tiverton Castle. Dorset Tapestry centre was in the Guildhall at Lyme Regis and it was there that the Great Gardeners and Herbalists panel was stitched.

The first Oblique Gobelin stitch was made on 26 September 1980 in Prysten House in Plymouth, by U.S. Ambassador the Hon. Kingman Brewster. The coat of arms of His Excellency’s ancestor, Pilgrim leader William Brewster, appears on the 1620 Mayflower Panel.

The last Oblique Gobelin stitch was made by HRH Prince Charles on 3 March 2000 in the Orchard Room of his home at Highgrove House in Gloucestershire. Most fittingly, with his interest in history and a keen gardener himself, the Prince put his golden wool stitch in the date of the 1642 Great Gardeners and Herbalists Panel.

Stitches have also been added by HM the Queen, HM the Queen Mother, HRH Prince Philip, HRH the Princess Royal and HRH the Duchess of Gloucester.

The Library

The New World Tapestry Library material includes histories of the years 1583-1642, much of it original research, files on the two hundred sixty four people named on the tapestry, plus heraldic information on over three hundred individuals, companies, towns, counties and universities.


Supporters of the New World Tapestry include the Adventurers for Virginia patrons of the New World Tapestry and Library. Their names are inscribed for posterity in the Adventurers for Virginia Record Book. Supporters who join the Adventurers for Virginia may also:

In London, celebrate the Adventurers for Virginia Day every 10 April to commemorate the granting of Royal Charters by James II of England to the London Company and the Plymouth Adventurers (Plymouth Company) in 1606 to establish colonies in Virginia

Help fund the production of the book, The Jamestown, Sagadahoc and Bermuda Story, for schools and researchers.

Help fund the production of the Yeardley/Flowerdew Brasses for presentation in England and America.

Help make grants to the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum at Temple Meads in Bristol to create the permanent exhibition of the New World Tapestry, expand and enhance the New World Tapestry Library and help the development of three-way educational research between England, the Americas and Bermuda.

Receive a tie showing the Adventurers badge plus a lifetime pass to view the tapestry at the museum in Bristol.


^ Caron Parsons (27 September 2004). “Art and Exhibitions: Setting sail for a pow-wow”. BBC News. “Helping to illustrate the story is the New World Tapestry; which, created in the West Country, is a detailed record of the early colonial period and the largest such embroidery in the world.” 

^ a b “World’s biggest tapestry on move”. BBC News. 5 October 2003. “The 267-feet-long New World Tapestry, which depicts the colonisation of the Americas between 1583 and 1642, has been on display at Coldharbour Mill in Devon for 10 years. Now the 39 million stitch tapestry, which was 23 years in the making, is to have a new home at the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum in Bristol.” 

^ “New World Anniversary Tapestry in Bristol, July 2006”. VisitBritain Press Centre. “More than 260 adventurers are named in total and their coats-of-arms displayed, along with a similar number of herbs, medicinal plants, trees and shrubs used by the early settlers. There are several humorous touches in the manner of ancient tapestries and almost 39 million stitches, including one made by Prince Charles.” 

^ Photograph of 1617-1618 panel. “Bristol and the New World”. Aztecs at MexicoLore. 

^ “Prysten House: Frommer’s Review”. Frommer’s. 

^ “Ceremonies in London mark 400th anniversary of Virginia Charter”. Richmond Times-Dispatch. History News Network. 10 April 2006. “The Adventurers for Virginia group, based in southwest England, displayed pieces of its New World Tapestry, which depicts the lineage of the families who traveled to settle the colony as well as other well-known aspects of history.” 

^ a b c d “City marks 400th anniversary of England’s American adventure”. City of London media centre. 4 April 2006. “Today Adventurers for Virginia are also backers of England ayeux Tapestry, The New World Tapestry, which, together with its Library, is a unique source of Anglo-American historical reference and an important international teaching tool. Designed by Tom Mor in 1978 and stitched by 256 volunteer Westcountry tapissiers, the massive work was completed in 2000 with a stitch made by Prince Charles.” 


^ “Cash appeal for tapestry casing”. BBC News. 13 May 2002. “Mr Mor has created a fund-raising group called Adventurers for Virginia, which will work on both sides of the Atlantic. The group takes it name from a tapestry panel, specially created for the fund-raising drive, which was made by a group of volunteers in Lyme Regis, Dorset. The panel is dedicated to the work of 18 London livery companies that, in 1620, gave money to support settlements in Virginia.” 

^ “Artifacts collection: Excavations have uncovered over 200,000 artifacts.”. Website of the Flowerdew Hundred (Virginia historic landmark on the James River) Foundation. 

External links

New World Tapestry Website

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