Epiphany and Trinity

Queen Anne’s Lace and Damascene Roses

Queen Anne gave the land and £100 in 1710, to build the Chapel. It was consecrated in 1714 and dedicated to St Anne, partly in the Queen’s honour.

I wanted to design an altar frontal for the Tercentenary which would celebrate St Anne. I chose Queen Anne’s Lace – Anthriscus sylvestris and combined it with a white rose  – Rosa Damascena subalba.

The Nave Altar is generally viewed only from a distance so white embroidery on a green linen keeps it simple enough to stand out and also reflects the colours of the Church interior, while continuing the lace theme.

There are several fables on how Queen Anne’s Lace got its name. ‘The botanist Geoffrey Grigson suggests that the name of the plant comes not from Queen Anne of England but from St Anne, the mother of the Virgin Mary and the patron saint of lace makers’.

Another story ‘states that Queen Anne challenged the ladies in waiting to a contest to see who could produce a pattern of lace as fine and lovely as the flower of the wild carrot. The ladies knew that no one could rival the Queen’s handiwork so it became a triumph for Anne’. 

Like lace, every bloom has a different pattern.

‘Legend has it that Queen Anne, the wife of King James I, was challenged by her friends to create lace as beautiful as a flower. While making the lace, she pricked her finger, and it’s said that the purple-red flower in the centre of Queen Anne’s Lace represents a droplet of her blood’.

In the language of flowers Queen Anne’s Lace represents sanctuary.

The Rose is associated with the Virgin Mary, and the white rose signifies purity and spiritual love.

The five petals of a single rose came to represent Christ’s wounds, the prickles his crown of thorns.

‘Their medieval association with Damascus came with their reintroduction into Europe by pilgrims and crusaders returning ‘from the land of the Saracens.’’

Drawings of British Plants 9 -14 Umbelliferae, Stella Ross-Craig

Redoute’s Roses    P.J. Redoute
Flowers of the Renaissance     Dr Celia Fisher
Anecdotes from website www.lace.lacefairy.com, www.teleflora.com, Geoffrey Grigson


© Sue Mason FLS, 2013

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