EU shipping is temporarily suspended

The Story of the Bayeux Tapestry

Unravelling the Norman Conquest

David Musgrove, Michael Lewis


The definitive guide to the Bayeux Tapestry and its legacy, exploring the rich narrative behind its stitches and the turbulent times in which it was created

See Inside


Political intrigue and treachery, heroism and brutal violence, victory and defeat – all this is depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry, an epic account of one of the pivotal episodes in English history embroidered on a strip of linen. Famously, it shows the stricken Anglo-Saxon king Harold dying on the battlefield of Hastings in 1066 amid a shower of arrows, as axes clash, spears fly and fallen warriors are trampled beneath charging hooves.

However, there is much more to this remarkable historical and artistic treasure, which tells its tale with an intensity and immediacy that speak to our modern world, almost 1,000 years after its creation. Many mysteries and questions still surround this unique embroidery and not all is as it might appear at first glance. Who made it, when, why, where and what for? David Musgrove and Michael Lewis set the events depicted in the context of the machinations on either side of the English Channel in the years leading up to the Norman Conquest, and tease out what the Tapestry tells us of the deeds of kings as well as aspects of everyday life in medieval Europe.

A complete and accessible up-to-date account, illustrated throughout in colour with new photography, this is the definitive guide to the Bayeux Tapestry and its legacy, exploring the rich narrative behind its stitches and the turbulent times in which it was created.

Read More


'A superb book that emphasises the importance of the Tapestry as both a historical and artistic treasure'
Dan Snow, author and historian

'Using the latest research, Musgrove and Lewis take us through the Tapestry’s brilliantly depicted but still enigmatic story of what happened in the fateful year of 1066. 'The Story of the Bayeux Tapestry' is full of many fresh insights and unexpected discoveries, providing convincing explanations of many of the most notorious riddles left to us by the makers. A must for anyone interested in the history of Britain'
Michael Wood, historian and author

'An excellent frame-by-frame account of the tapestry – a sort of written audioguide that forces consideration (and reconsideration) of each scene. This approach throws up curiosities offering unique windows onto the eleventh century'
Times Literary Supplement

'Beautifully illustrated and meticulously researched'
Times Literary Supplement

Read More

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 23.4 x 15.3 cm

Extent: 352 pp

Illustrations: 145

Publication date: 1 April 2021

ISBN: 9780500252420

Contents List

Introduction • 1. Putting the Conquest in Context • 2. A Unique Embroidery • 3. The Story Begins • 4. Captive in France • 5. At the Court of Duke William • 6. The Brittany Campaign • 7. A Sacred Oath • 8. Harold Becomes King • 9. William Builds an Army • 10. The Lull Before the Storm • 11. The Great Battle • 12. The Bayeux Tapestry and Its Legacy

About the Author

David Musgrove is Content Director for BBC History Magazine and BBC Science Focus, and author of the bestselling 100 Places That Made Britain. Michael Lewis is Head of Portable Antiquities & Treasure at the British Museum. An expert on the Bayeux Tapestry, he is the author of The Real World of the Bayeux Tapestry. He is a member of the Bayeux Tapestry scientific committee that is advising Bayeux Museum on the reinterpretation and redisplay of the embroidery.