The Hassock Project

“The work of the hands brings forth the spirit of the heart” – dedication of the Embroidery Group’s hassock (number 78)

The Embroiderers' Hassock (1993)
The Embroiderers’ Hassock (1993)

Our 80 tapestried hassocks were dedicated on the feast of St Elizabeth of Hungary, 17th November 1994; this was the culmination of an extraordinary community project which had taken four years to complete, funded by generous donations from many members of our parish.

Each hassock was separately sponsored, and has been individually embroidered locally in memory of a different parishioner, living or dead. Some remember whole families, or ask the kneeler to pray for a former parish priest.

The hassock of the Bauers family has an unusual inscription: their traditional family tune.
The hassock of the Bauers family has an unusual inscription: their traditional family tune.

The full plan and dedication list may be downloaded here: Hassock placement and dedicationsYou can use this document to find, check or identify our hassocks.
Page 1 shows a map of their layout at November 1994 (please note that hassocks occasionally do wander a little!). Pages 2-10 show, for each hassock: Sponsor, Inscription, Motif, Embroiderer, Year of completion.

Further hassock-project related documents may be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

Some of our hassocks contain Latin inscriptions. These may be translated as follows:

Hassock Number 29
Hassock Number 29


  • Hassocks number 29 and 33: per ardua ad astra: “Through hardship to the stars,” traditional motto of the Royal Air Force. Interestingly, the RAF attribute the origin of that phrase to H. Rider Haggard – an author with extensive local connections who spent several years of his life at nearby Ditchingham.

    Hassock Number 45
    Hassock Number 45
  • Hassock number 45: ab auxilio ab alto: “By help from on high”, motto of the Martin family
  • Hassock number 51: pax dominus sit semper vobiscum: “May the peace of God be always with you”
  • Hassock number 63: nisi dominus frustra: “Without God, [everything is] in vain.” The phrase is traditionally held to be a summary of Psalm 127.

    A particularly beautiful example: Mary D'Arcy Kenyon's hassock, embroidered by her great-grandson, Robin Bramley
    A particularly beautiful example: Mary D’Arcy Kenyon’s hassock, embroidered by her great-grandson, Robin Bramley
  • Hassocks number 62 and 64: sero sed serio: “Late but in earnest,” the motto of the Clan of Kerr, to whom the Kenyons and their descendants are related.


Our Communion Rail Kneeler, also made as part of the Hassock Project, bears another Latin inscription: magnamiter crucem sustine: this was translated at the time by Dom. Aelred Watkin, O.S.B., as, “Bear the Cross with a great heart.”

Our Communion Rail Kneeler is almost as wide as the church itself.
Our Communion Rail Kneeler is almost as wide as the church itself.

The embroiderers, a most dedicated team presided over by Margaret Knox, a noted local historian and author, were as follows:

  • A. Bauers
  • Robin Bramley
  • A. Butler
  • E. Clark
  • Mrs Mary Day
  • Mrs Mary Edney
  • Mrs Marcia Fenwick
  • Mr & Mrs Jones
  • M. Humby
  • Mrs Margaret Knox
  • Ann Martin
  • M. Matthews
  • C. & P. Newton
  • J. Pipe
  • Mrs Marie-Clare Strange
  • Mrs Margaret Thorby


We thank them all for their skill and patience in creating a work of history, beauty and comfort in our church for years to come.

Please click on the titles below to view each document:
Hassock Design October 1990
Dedication Mass for first 40 hassocks 1992
Design for Communion Rail Kneeler 1994
Embroidery Group News October 1994
Announcement of Completion Mass
Embroidery Project News December 1994