At the weekend I finally got to see the 7 maidens' garlands at Minsterley in Shropshire. My interest had been aroused some time ago by an article in World of Interiors ( April 2003) and I was eager to compare them to the ones I had seen at Old St Stephens.
It was a wet gloomy day, suitable for visiting funeral mementos. The 17th century church was built by the Thynnes of Longleat.
The garlands themselves hang high at the back of the church from the original heart shaped estucheons. It was difficult to see them closely but I had remembered to take binoculars.
One of the garlands had been put on display under a glass box so it was possible to see the detail really close.
Paper rosettes are the main feature of the garlands in this church. Some of them appear to be painted and they may have used wallpaper. I have used similar rosettes in the garlands I am making for my exhibition "Remember Me".
One early source suggests the garlands might be made by the person commemorated, which woud be possible in the case of an elderly spinster; but at least one of those for whom a garland was made was a young woman of 20 or 21 years of age.