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Bury St Edmunds: Stone sculpture to be made in the Abbey Gardens to commemorate Magna Carta

14:00 04 August 2014

Margaret Charlesworth (right) from the Magna Carta 800 committee with the Lincoln Cathedral copy of the document.

Margaret Charlesworth (right) from the Magna Carta 800 committee with the Lincoln Cathedral copy of the document.

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An experienced stonemason and sculptor has volunteered to create a piece of work to commemorate 800 years of the Magna Carta.

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Brian Ansell, who previously worked on Lincoln Cathedral and York Minister, will work on the sculpture in situ in Bury St Edmunds’ Abbey Gardens, where members of the public will be able to watch it take shape.

Bury St Edmunds Town Council has granted £2,000 to the local Magna Carta 800 Committee, which has been organising events to mark the anniversary, to fund the stone’s purchase.

The sculpture will stand in the water garden in the Abbey Gardens and townspeople – particularly young people – will be asked for their input for the design.

The town has a significant link with the Magna Carta as the barons reputably met in the Abbey on November 20, 1214, to swear they would force King John to put his seal to the charter, which he did the following year at Runnymede in Surrey.

While the national anniversary celebrations are taking place next year, events have been taking place in Bury this year to mark the anniversary of the barons’ meeting.

Margaret Charlesworth, chairman of the local Magna Carta 800 Committee, said work on the sculpture would probably begin this autumn and would be unveiled next year. She said: “It will be our legacy and it’s being done voluntarily.”

She described how Mr Ansell approached her three years ago and said he would like to volunteer to create a sculpture in perpetuity to commemorate the Magna Carta.

Town clerk Julia Dyball said: “This project is very exciting as, while being sculpted in situ, members of the public will be able to watch its progress and creation.

“The town will be continuing its Magna Carta celebrations with a light and sound festival in October.”

The light and sound trail over two weekends will involve images from Magna Carta pageants held in Bury in 1907 and 1959, as well as the 1970 St Edmund Festival, being projected onto the sides of buildings.

Medieval music and chanting monks will be heard as people tour from Charter Square through the town centre down to the Abbey Gardens.

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