Coffin cover

Originally a vestment worn by priests, this textile was saved during the Reformation in Exeter by changing its use to a coffin cover. It is made from silk, linen and canvas, embroidered with silver-gilt threads and silk, in green, yellow, red, blue and black.
Accession Loan No.
Collection Class
Social and industrial history
Common Name
coffin cover
Simple Name
Full Name
coffin pall, vestment
whole W 1370 mm; whole height 2070 mm; whole depth 2 mm
Period Classification
Late Medieval (1400-1500)
Production Year Low
Production Year High
Family Group

textile; metal
Collection Site Name
St Mary Arches Church
Collection Town
Collection County
Collection Country
United Kingdom: England
Collection Area Region
Northern Europe
Collection Continent

    There is 1 comment

    • Ellie Coleman
      27 July 2022 | Permalink | Reply to this comment

      This object was selected by a member of the LGBTQ+ community to feature in an interactive in Making History gallery.

      “The object that I have chosen is a coffin pall. This object was repurposed from priests’ vestments to a coffin pall during the reformation. … I’m a Catholic, so it has always resonated with me as being part of my faith’s history. I think I’ve also always really admired the resourcefulness of this parish community, that they had these beautiful vestments, and that rather than lose them, they sought to repurpose them. … I think it made me think about the relationship between my own faith and my sexuality. Obviously it’s often really difficult to be a queer person within church communities; I think, we’re all well aware of how hard that can be, but for me personally at least, it has sometimes also felt difficult to be a person of faith within queer communities. … So, I don’t want to speak for everyone, but, yeah, maybe for any queer person of faith who has felt that tension between those two parts of themselves, or anyone who has felt like they’ve had to remodel any part of themselves in order to feel that they fit more easily in the world, then, certainly I feel like there could be a point of connection there, definitely.”

      For the full transcript and sound piece follow this link.

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