Magna Carta weekend

By | Category: Travel news
the Runneymede memorial which has been refurbished and will,b e re-dedicated

the Runnymede memorial which has been refurbished and will,b e re-dedicated

The 15th of June is the actual anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta not just one of the UK’s most important documents but one that has affected many countries throughout the world.

In the next week, various events will be taking place in which the public will be involved as opposed to academics or lawyers. Here is a quick rundown of some of the hundreds that will be happening. For a fuller list click here or go to

At Runnymede on the River Thames, the location of the signing of the Charter, there will be the Magna Carta River Relay on the 13th. 200 boats led by the barge that the Queen used for her diamond jubilee celebrations, Gloriana,will travel from Windsor to Runnymede. There will be a pageant at Runnymede Pleasure Grounds.o the 14th, from 10:00 – 18:00. And, on the same day, there will be the unveiling of a ten foot commemorative statue of the Queen which will take place from 9am until 2.30pm. On the 15th, there will be the actual commemoration at Runnymede in the presence of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. There will also be a re-dedication of the American Bar Association Memorial that day. At 12:15 pm, there will be Red Arrows and Battle of Britain flypast.

In Staines on the 13th, there will be a Barons’ Gathering, at Lammas Recreation Park. This free event celebrates the little known fact that many of the Magna Carta Barons assembled in Staines before travelling to Runnymede. Events include jousting, combat displays, period dancing, falconry, ale tasting, children’s activities and much more. 12:15 – 20:15. From 11am you can also watch the river flotilla led by Gloriana from King’s Meadow Lawn, Sunbury- on – Thames.

part of the facade of Salisbury cathedral

part of the facade of Salisbury cathedral

In Salisbury, where there is also a copy of Magna Carta, there will be a Magna Carta Pageant, on the 15th and at 8pm local dignitaries will seal a new Magna Carta for Wiltshire. There will also be a celebration in the Cathedral Close on the same day.

At Lincoln Castle, which has only recently re-opened, the 1215 Lincoln Magna Carta will be housed within the Castle walls, in a subterranean vault, accessible for the public to view alongside the Charter of the Forest manuscript. Lincoln is the only place in the world where the two copies can be viewed in the same place. On the evening of the 13th, Britain’s Got Talent winners, Diversity, will headline a Magna Carta Party at Lincoln Castle. From 7pm until 10pm.. From the 18th – 21st: the Eastern Three Choirs Festival, will be held in Lincoln which will include a celebration of the Charter. From the 12th June – 6th September, six foot high sculptures of Barons, 25 in all, have been decorated by artists from Lincolnshire and beyond. The finished sculptures will be placed around the city centre, creating a colourful and fun trail for visitors to follow. Each one is marked with a letter – when all the letters are collected, they form a phrase that can be deciphered in exchange for some of King John’s gold (chocolate!) coins.

At Faversham in Kent where a copy from the year 1300 exists, an exhibition called Magna Carta Rediscovered’ has opened in Faversham and will now tour Kent. The exhibition at The Alexander Centre (until Sunday, 28th June), uses modern interpretive techniques to present the story. It closes in Faversham on 28th June and then it will tour Kent, at Canterbury, Maidstone, Dover, Sandwich and Rochester.

Durham Cathedral has the only surviving copy of the 1215 signing and that will be a display alongside objects from Durham University’s collections and loans from other regional and national museums and libraries. These include the Great Reform Act of 1832 from the Parliamentary Archives and the Bosworth Cross of Richard III, from the collections of the Society of Antiquaries, London.

a knight - William Marshal protecting Cilgerran Castle?

a knight – William Marshal protecting Cilgerran Castle?

In London, the largest Magna Carta exhibition in the world is taking place at the British Library where there are two copies of the Magna Carta plus Thomas Jefferson’s handwritten copy of the US Declaration of Independence and one of the original copies of the US Bill of Rights. At the Guildhall in the city of London, the Heritage Gallery opened with the City’s 1297 Magna Carta being the focal point.

In Wales, two castles, Chepstow and Cilgerran are involved in the celebrations. Why? Because William Marshall, one of King John’s advisors and a signatory after the King’s on the Charter was intimately involved with both.  At Chepstow, medieval display group Bowlore  will be there over the 13th and 14th for a William Marshall tourney, plus archery and weapons displays, have-a-go archery and sword training lessons. At Cilgerran on the 13th and 14th, there is the Historia Normannis early Medieval group and at Chepstow,

Other events are taking place in almost every country that you can think of. For more information, click here.


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