The New World Tapestry

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cene Three
    1635-41 PANEL


Note the fowls on the college coat-of-arms, top border, there because in 1994, in Mor’s Cambridge studio, Lady Jane Renfrew, wife of the Master of Jesus College made the first stitch on this panel, on the cockerel rebus shown above the college gateway. A rebus is a pun on a person’s name, in this case, that of Bishop Alcock the College’s founder. Lady Renfrew was a great help to the tapestry Project, not only in finding most of the herbs and medicinal plants for illustration on this particular panel, but also by drawing attention to the fact that one of the most colourful characters in New England’s history in the 1630’s was one John Eliot who took his degree in 1622 and later emigrated to America.

Until then the Rev. John had taught school in Chelmsford in Essex, there coming under the influence of another Cambridge man, the Rev. Thomas Hooker who was a Fellow of Emmanuel College and an ardent Puritan. This decided him to take up the greatest challenge that the New World could offer a clergyman – bringing God’s Word to ignorant natives. This is why he has now taken up a position of teacher at the church at Roxbury, Massachusetts.

First he sets himself the task of learning the Indians’ language. Mastering that, he is able to preach to them in their own tongue than publish the first Bible in their own language for use in the schools and colleges being set up. Two of these Bibles still exist, one in jesus College itself and the other in the long gallery of the National trust’s property, Rickling Hall in Norfolk.

The horrific massacre of so many Jamestown settlers in 1622, butchered in their homes, always remains a nightmare threat throughout New England. Therefore this year, 1637, when sporadic attacks become more frequent and culminate in the murder and mutilation of trader John Oldham by a large group of Pequoit Indians, Winthrop decares war on them. Led by John Endicott, the English eventually win but only with the help of another friendly native tribe, the Narragansets.


ASTRANTIA  Imperatoria .  ‘the root drunke in wine cureth the extreme and rigorous cold fits of agues ’. Gerard.

SAXIFRAGE  Chrysesplenium oppositfolium.  In the Vosges it is said to be eaten as a salad under the name Cresson de roche.

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