The Bayeux Tapestry was
created at the order of Bishop Odo, half-brother of William the
Conqueror. It is not a tapestry with the design woven into the fabric.
Rather it is an embroidery of colored wool on a linen background, on
an immense scale. About 230 feet long and 20 inches wide it contains
over 1,500 images in three bands, recounting the conquest of England
by William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
Tradition attributes the making of the Tapestry to
William's wife, Matilda, but it is now believed by some to have been
the work of English craftswomen. It was made around 1077. For 700
years it hung in the nave of the Bayeux Cathedral on feast days. It
escaped being destroyed during the French Revolution, and was later
exhibited in Paris by Napoleon. In 1945 it was returned to the Palace
of the Bishops of Bayeux, restored and displayed in a protective
Harold was sent to confirm King Edward's promise of the kingdom to his
cousin, Duke William of Normandy. Harold was blown off course and
taken prisoner by Count Guy who held him for ransom. When William
found out he sent two messengers to demand Harold's release. The stamp
shows messengers from the Tapestry. The horses are
"European coldblood horses" bred for size and
strength to carry a man in a suit of armor, and still remain agile.
The Comet of 1066
Halley's Comet, which appeared in 1066, was widely held to be a
portent of the disaster that was to befall Harold. The stamp from St.
Helena shows an enlarged view of the image of the comet on the
comet strikes terror to Harold's followers. It is an omen of
gray ships in the background of the Jersey stamp foreshadow William
coming to take his throne. The stamp displays parts of four different
panels. The middle figure and that of the comet belong to the same
panel. The pictures of Harold and William and the boats in the background
are from other panels.