Great Tapestry of Scotland

Ever want to see the history of Scotland, in one place? Head to the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh this month to see it! The free exhibition is in the Main Hall from 3-21 September, 2013. The Great Tapestry will tour Scotland, after that.

The Great Tapestry of Scotland is the longest tapestry in the world, coming in at 143 metres long. In contrast, the Bayeux Tapestry is 70 meters long, and the Kieskamma tapestry (South Africa) is 120 metres.



It has taken over a year to complete, with each of the 160 panels taking over 500 hours to complete! The panels represent the 420 million years of Scotland's history.

The Great Tapestry Project was developed by esteemed Scottish writer Alexander McCall Smith, artist Andrew Crummy and historical writer Alistair Moffat bring together hundreds of volunteer stitchers from across Scotland to create a record-breaking 143 metre long embroidered tapestry, beautifully illustrating the history of Scotland, from a land locked in ice and carved by glaciers, to the reconvening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, the panels depict Scotland’s fascinating history, science, culture, industry and politics over the centuries.



Alexadner McCall Smith notes: "Now we have it: a record of our history, designed by an artist whose eye has captured the essence of Scotland, and stitched with love by hundreds of people throughout the land. They invite you to look at this and celebrate our country."

take a listen to the story:



Tapestry panels include:
The Great Tapestry of Scotland
Ceaseless Sea
Land Formation of Scotland
The Ice Melts, Scotland Emerges, The First Pioneers Come The Wildwood and its Fauna c8,500 BC
Encampment at Cramond, Scotland’s First House at Barn’s Ness East Lothian c8,000 BC The First Farmers # Build their Monuments c3,000 BC
Broch, Cairn, Quarn
Pytheas Circumnavigates Scotland c320 BC, Visits Calanais
Mons Graupius 83 AD, the Romans Build Walls
Ninian at Whithorn c400 AD
Irish Warbands Invade, Dalriada Founded, Columba at Iona 563 AD, Dunadd
Cuthbert at Melrose c670 AD, Book of Kells, Lindisfarne Gospels
Ruthwell and Bewcastle Crosses and the arrival of the Angles, 7th to 9th Century The Picts Defeat the Angles at Dunnichen 685 AD
The Coming of the Vikings
The Vikings take Dumbarton Rock 870 AD
Constantine climbs The Hill of Faith 904 AD
Battle of Carham on the Tweed 1018, The Border Settles in the South
King Macbeth in Moray 1050s
St Margaret at Dunfermline c1080
The Great Border Abbeys are Built
David I Fosters the Wool Trade c1130s
St Andrews Cathedral
Duns Scotus and The Schoolmen
Somerled, First Lord of The Isles c1160
Haakon’s Fleet at Kyleakin, Skye and Battle of Largs 1263
Death of Alexander III at Kinghorn 1286
William Wallace and Andrew Moray 1290s
Bannockburn 1314
Bruce’s Siege of Carlisle 1315 and Beginning of Little Ice Age
The Black Death, Deserted Farms c1350s
St Andrews University 1413
Ancient Universities
Orkney and Shetland Ceded by Denmark to Scotland 1469
Rosslyn Chapel
Chepman and Miller set up the first printing press 1507
Blind Harry
Harris Waulking
Flodden 1513
The Three Estates, Greatest Scottish Play
Court of Session
Scottish Reformation, A School in Every Parish, 1560s
Mary Queen of Scots
The Border Reivers, Rescue of Kinmont Willie 1596
Robert Carey’s Ride from London to Edinburgh 1603
The Making of the King James Bible 1611
The National Covenant at Greyfriars Kirkyard 1638
Montrose Defeated at Philiphaugh Near Selkirk 1645
The Killing Times in 1680s, Field Conventicle at Irongray
Massacre at Glencoe 1692
Bank of Scotland Founded 1695
The Darien Scheme
The Act of Union, Edinburgh, 1707
Jacobite Rising 1715, Chaotic Battle at Sherriffmuir
Modern Kilt Invented, Lochaber 1723
Jacobite Rising 1745
The Ordnance Survey Begins
English Advance, Gaelic Retreat
Royal and Ancient Golf Club Founded in St Andrews 1754
First School for Deaf and Dumb Children Established in Edinburgh 1760
James Small Invents the Swing Plough 1770
Enlightenment Edinburgh, Encyclopaedia Britannica established at Anchor Close 1771
Edinburgh New Town
James Watt and the Steam Engine
Tobacco Lords
Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, Kirkcaldy
David Hume and Jean-Jacques Rousseau in Paris
Highland and Lowland Clearances Gather Pace
Home weaving, reeling and spinning
James Hutton’s Theory of the Earth, Siccar Point, Berwickshire
James Boswell and Smoked Fish
The Forth and Clyde Canal, Irish Navvies, Burke and Hare
Scotland and the Drive for The Empire
Robert Owen and New Lanark 1783
Robert Burns’ Tam O’Shanter 1791
The False Alarm, Threat Of Napoleonic Invasion 1801
Henry Raeburn
Walter Scott, Early 19th Century, Romantic Scotland and the Beginnings of Tourism
Fingal’s Cave
The Scotsman founded 1817
George Smith founds The Glenlivet Distillery 1824
Borders Tweed
The Growth of Glasgow 1820s
Sheep shearing
First Reform Act
Kirkpatrick McMillan
Victoria at Balmoral 1850-60s
Indian Head
Hill and Adamson
The Railway Boom and the Forth Rail Bridge
A Caithness School 1851
Celtic and Rangers Old Firm
Irish Immigration after the Famine
James Clerk Maxwell
Scotland in Africa
Highland Games
Scottish Rugby Union Founded 1873, First match between England and Scotland
Shinty and Curling
Scots in America, 19th Century Emigration
Paisley Peacock
Battle of The Braes, Skye, 1882, Napier Commission
Paisley Lady
Robert Louis Stevenson
Workshops of the Empire
Scottish Trades Union Congress Forms in Glasgow 1897
Keir Hardie
Herring Girls
The Discovery Sails from Dundee
Dundee: Jute, Journalism
Shetland, Ibster Sisters
Charles Rennie Mackintosh Designs Glasgow School of Art
The First World War
The Building of HMS Hood, Battle of Ypres 1917
Elsie Inglis
The Sinking of HMS Iolaire off Stornoway 1919
Eric Liddle
Women get the Vote
General Strike 1926
Fair Isle
Hugh MacDiarmid writes A Drunk Man Looks at The Thistle
Ramsay MacDonald Prime Minister, Rise of the Labour Party
Great Depression 1930s
Glasgow Tenement
The Second World War
The Clydebank Blitz 1941
Concrete Pill Blocks
D-Day 1944
The First Edinburgh Festival 1947
East Kilbride
National Health Service Founded
Television Arrives 1950s: STV Grampian, Border TV, BBC
Cumbernauld New Town
North Sea Oil Licences Granted 1965, Aberdeen, Nigg Bay
Linwood Begins Production of Hillman Imp
Pop Music Booms
Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Work-In, Jimmy Reid, 1971
Stop Yer Ticklin Jock! Scottish Comedy
The Rise of the SNP, 1974 Elections
Scotland at the Movies
Scotland’s World Cup Campaign in Argentina, Ally’s Army 1978
Miners’ Strike 1984, Decline of Heavy Industry
Gaelic Resurgent
Glasgow European City of Culture 1990
Dolly the Sheep Cloned in Edinburgh 1996
The Scottish Parliament Reconvenes 1999
Parliament of the Ancestors – Parliament for the Future (8 panels)
Map of Scotland Today
The North Wind Blows




Want to make your own panel for yourself? Available in the Parliament shop:



Learn more:


Feature photo: The North Sea Oil and Aberdeen Panel of the Great Tapestry of Scotland.
Photos Courtesy of the Scottish Parliament
 and the Great Tapestry of Scotland





Great Tapestry of Scotland

The Great Tapestry of Scotland is the longest tapestry in the world, and covers in 160 panels 420 million years of Scotland's history

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Jessie Voigts