Lace for the High Sheriff

Maureen Bromley, former Chairman of our group was contacted last November by Julie Good to ask if it was possible to have some handmade lace, made in Yorkshire, to complement her outfit for the role of High Sheriff of East Yorkshire. But she was not sure whether she was asking the impossible as the lace would be needed just a few months later. After some thought, Maureen felt that the project was worthy of further consideration and, therefore, a small team of lace makers was assembled, Judith Adkins, Dianne Chapman and Julie Medland who agreed to help Maureen with the project, which entailed making a jabot and cuffs in torchon lace.

Julie Good chose a pattern which had been originally drawn by Joyce Symes based on an old lace handkerchief design. This had to be adapted slightly as the lace was needed in two widths, thereby allowing the layers to overlap on the finished jabot and cuffs. We therefore needed two lengths 16 inches long for the jabot and four lengths 24 inches long, two for each cuff. The lace took between three and four hours to make about an inch depending on the width. In total the jabot and cuffs took about 500 hours to make.

As the timescale was challenging, we had very little time to source the thread and make the lace, especially as Christmas was looming and we all had family commitments to consider. However we are pleased to say that we were able to complete the project and hand the lace over to Julie on 31st March in readiness for her inauguration as High Sheriff of East Yorkshire a few days later.

It is good to know that our lace will be seen by many people across the county as the High Sheriff carries out her role as the Queen's representative for law and order in East Yorkshire during her year in office.

As with any handmade items we make the lace because we enjoy keeping the craft alive and demonstrating our skills. We are pleased to say that Julie was delighted with the finished lace and in recognition for our hard work presented our Society with a generous donation. This money will be spent on furthering the Society’s aim to promote lace making and maintain the skills for generations to come.

We are in the process of preparing a booklet giving an account of our work and progress as well as containing photographs and a copy of the pricking, for which we have the permission of Joyce Symes daughter which is to be held in the Society’s archives so that future members can read about it. The booklet also contains some information about the general role of a High Sheriff.

Article and photographs courtesy of Maureen Bromley

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