The Bayeux Tapestry is not a tapestry at all, but an embroidery - stitched, in eight colours of worsted, on a strip of coarse linen approximately 230 feet long by 20 inches wide (70 metres by 50 centimetres). It depicts (from a Norman perspective) the events leading up to, and including, the Norman invasion of England in 1066. The end of the embroidery is now missing, but it is usually assumed that it would have shown the coronation of William 'the Conqueror'. Traditionally the work was attributed to William's wife, Matilda, and her handmaidens, however, it is now generally believed to have been commissioned by William's half-brother, Bishop Odo, for Bayeux Cathedral (dedicated in 1077), and produced in workshops at Canterbury - William of Poitiers notes that "English women are very skillful at needle work".

Charles Dawson , in 'The "Restorations" of the Bayeux Tapestry' (published 1907):
"The earliest recorded mention of the existence of the tapestry occurs in the inventory of the Cathedral of Bayeux in the year 1476, and again in 1563. From that time forward we hear nothing of it down to the year 1729, the time of its discovery to the archŠological world. It had long been the custom to exhibit the embroidery, on the Feast of Relics and its octaves, hung around the nave of the Cathedral of Bayeux; and at other times it was kept in a press in a chapel on the south side of the cathedral. The interest aroused by its discovery, of course, led to a more frequent and casual exhibition of it; and, as no proper method was adopted for its preservation, it no doubt suffered considerably. During the anarchy of 1792 it was suddenly requisitioned as a covering for a military cart in need of canvas, from which peril it was rescued by a Commissary of Police; but again, in 1794, it was in danger of being cut up and used as a decoration during a civic festival, from which fate it was happily once more rescued. In 1803 it was taken by order of the First Consul Napoleon for exhibition in Paris, but returned to Bayeux the next year. When, in 1814, Mr. Hudson Gurney saw it, it was coiled round a winch, or, as he described it, "A machine like that which lets down buckets into a well" and was exhibited to visitors by being drawn out over a table. Mr. Dawson Turner, writing two years later, said that the necessary rolling and unrolling was performed with so little attention that the tapestry would have been wholly ruined in the course of half a century if left under its then management. He describes the tapestry-roll as being injured at the beginning and very ragged towards the end, where several figures had completely disappeared, and adds that the worsted was unravelling in many intermediate parts. Later on the end is described as a mere bundle of rags."
The Tapestry is now a museum exhibit in Bayeux.