A petition has been launched to formally request the Bayeaux Tapestry go on display in Battle if it is loaned to the UK in 2022.
The petition (available here) calls on Theresa May to ensure is exhibited in Battle, describing the town as both its 'spiritual home' and 'the most suitable historic location'.
It has been set up by Battle mayor David Furness and has the backing of Battle Town Council, which says it will "do all we can to persuade the French and UK Government that it should be exhibited in Battle."
A separate petition, which makes the same request to Parliament, is currently undergoing review before going live.
Since the news of the loan broke on Wednesday (January 17), a number of organisations in 1066 Country have come out in support of the plans to put it on display in Battle or another appropriate vernue nearby. Supporters of the plans, including Hastings Borough Council leader Peter Chowney and Hastings MP Amber Rudd, argue doing so will provide a major tourism boost for the area.
Bexhill and Battle MP Huw Merriman, another supporter of the plan, said: “Amber Rudd and I are serious in our intent to get the Bayeux Tapestry to 1066 country. As well as our requests in Prime Minister's Questions, we have formally written to the Prime Minister with our bid and explained that our constituencies have a link to the tapestry which cannot be rivalled.
"We have also made the point that London is in no need for extra tourism whereas the influx in visitors, and the resulting interest, would be a huge boost to the local economy. We very much hope, should the French people loan this extraordinary treasure, that its temporary home will be in East Sussex where it drew its inspiration.”
Meanwhile a Rother District Council spokesman said: "This area is intrinsically linked with the Bayeux tapestry as some of the key events depicted on it took place in what is now Rother district.
“We would welcome any opportunity to host the tapestry here in 1066 Country, although this would depend on the practicability of moving and safely and securely displaying such a large, old and fragile piece of art.
“If the tapestry does come to the UK, wherever it is housed, it will offer an opportunity for many more people in this country to see one of the world’s most famous historical documents, vividly depicting events which happened here in Rother and which changed the course of British and European history.”
English Heritage have also come out in support, with a spokesman for the organisation confirming it will make approaches about displaying the tapestry at Battle Abbey. A spokesman said: "English Heritage will be making approaches regarding hosting the tapestry at Battle Abbey…of course, there are all sorts of considerations (it is very fragile and exceptionally long) and we would need to explore the feasibility, but we are definitely interested in hosting it and – as the place where the Battle happened, we believe the abbey and battlefield would be an incredibly appropriate location."
There have been previous unsuccessful attempts to negotiate a loan of the tapestry to the UK: once for the Queen’s coronation in 1953, and again in 1966 for the 900-year anniversary of the Battle of Hastings.
It has rarely been moved even within France. In 1803, Napoleon Bonaparte put it on display in Paris and in 1945 it was briefly displayed in the Louvre after being seized from the Nazis.
The petition can be found at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/bring-the-tapestry-to-battle-1066?source=facebook-share-button&time=1516195136