A TAPESTRY more than a century old has been presented to an Oxfordshire village church following some sleuthing about its origins by a dedicated estate manager.

Marion Waddington, from Hanover Housing Association in Leicester, put her detective hat on after becoming intrigued by the history of the artwork which depicts St Giles Church in Newington, near Wallingford.

Ms Waddington discovered the family heirloom when one of her residents, Aileen Gillian, moved out of her flat in Hanover Close, Leicester and left it behind.

The tapestry was created in the late 19th century by Ms Gillian's great aunt, Annie Gardener.

During her investigation, Ms Waddington discovered that Annie Gardner was born deaf and dumb in 1870.

After learning sign language at the age of 15, she went to live with her father at Newington House where he was the coachman.

The grand stately home, used today as a wedding venue, is based on plans in Rubens’ collection of engravings “The Palaces of Genoa”, and is a copy of the Pallavicini Palazzo.

It is thought that Ms Gardener created the tapestry between 1890 and 1900, immortalising a sight that would have greeted her often.

Following the death of her father, she went to live with her uncle in Tilehurst, Reading.

She died in 1914 at the age of 44, and it is thought she left the tapestry to her uncle before it was passed down through the generations.

Ms Waddington said: "I have to admit that being a fan of Heir Hunters and Miss Marple I enjoyed the challenge of uncovering the history surrounding the tapestry.

"After tracking down various generations of Annie Gardner’s relatives and some desk research, I was able to present the tapestry to St Giles Church."

Tina Derrick, churchwarden at St Giles, said: "It’s a lovely piece of local history and we are delighted to have it as part of the church’s treasures.”

The tapestry will be on show at the 12th century church's Christmas services and will be displayed in the place of worship once restoration work have been carried out on the piece.