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Bury St Edmunds: Thousands book to see copy of Magna Carta at St Edmundsbury Cathedral

12:00 14 May 2014

The Magna Carta at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds.

The Magna Carta at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds.

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More than 2,000 people have grabbed the opportunity to see a priceless copy of the Magna Carta in Bury St Edmunds.

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Tickets – which are free – are disappearing fast for the exhibition at St Edmundsbury Cathedral which is running this month and is part of Bury’s celebrations to mark the 800th anniversary of the charter’s link with the town.

Bury is celebrating this year as it is reputed that in 1214 the barons came to the abbey to take an oath to force King John to put his seal to the charter, which he did the following year at Runnymede.

The document on display at St Edmundsbury Cathedral’s treasury is one of only four remaining copies of the Magna Carta and is owned by Lincoln Cathedral.

Margaret Charlesworth, chairman of the local Magna Carta 800 Committee, said: “Bringing the Lincoln copy of the Magna Carta to Bury St Edmunds is the result of a very successful partnership between the Bury Society, the cathedral and St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

“Without the input of all involved this would never have happened and I think we can say with much joy that thus far we’ve been extremely successful.”

Already 90% of the bookable tickets – about 5,600 – have been allocated by the Apex and the remaining tickets will now only be available from the entertainments website West Suffolk Diary at www.westsuffolkdiary.co.uk

There are also some tickets available each day for people who want to simply turn up at the cathedral, but there may be a queue.

Councillor Sarah Stamp, St Edmundsbury cabinet member for heritage, arts and culture, said: “Congratulations are due to the team at the Apex for a great job done very well as they have dealt extremely efficiently with a huge number of ticket enquiries in a short space of time. Also, huge thanks are owed to the Magna Carta 800 Committee for bringing this 800-year-old piece of history to Bury St Edmunds.

“It’s wonderful to see so many people of all ages making the most of this opportunity and really engaging with such an important part of our town’s heritage.”

The Magna Carta went on to form the backbone not only to Great Britain’s legal system, but also the constitutions of other countries including the United States of America and India.

Next year will see celebrations taking place all over the country. Other celebrations which are due to take place in Bury this year include a light and sound event in the autumn and a study day on September 20.

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