sponsored by ecclesiastical
Supporting over 16,000 cathedral and church buildings of The Church of England


Textiles contribute greatly to the character of church interiors. Often in a range of styles and materials and from different historical periods, the pieces may be:

  • embroidered ceremonial clothing such as vestments, copes and stoles
  • other decorative items such as altar cloths, frontals, decorative panels, banners and kneelers (hassocks)
  • historical relics such as old flags
  • more 'domestic' items such as carpets, curtains and drapes

Many items may have been made by members of the congregation, past and present, or have other strong local associations. They all need to be cared for a way that is appropriate for the materials.

This section will help you identify the signs of damage to church textiles and understand the causes of damage. You will also find practical maintenance tips and guidance on how to address the conservation needs of historic objects.

If you have military banners in your church special rules apply to their care. These are explained in our guidance note Flags, Military Colours and Historic Banners