Bury St Edmunds: Cash boost to support Magna Carta celebrations in town

The Magna Carta plaque on the ruins in the Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds.

The Magna Carta plaque on the ruins in the Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds.

A town council has agreed to contribute £5,000 towards celebrations to mark the Magna Carta’s 800th anniversary.

To recognise Bury St Edmunds’ significant connection with the charter, which laid the foundations for the legal system in the UK today, special events are planned to take place in the town next year.

Bury St Edmunds Town Council will donate the funds towards the celebrations, which will include educational workshops for children.

Margaret Charlesworth, chair of the local Magna Carta 800 committee, said: “It’s wonderful to see the town council putting money in for the educational side for the children to benefit from.

“Right from the beginning our committee wanted everything to be free of charge and with the town council’s funding this is a boost to help make it free for everyone.”

Bury St Edmunds town clerk Julia Dyball said: “It’s another opportunity to showcase Bury St Edmunds and we are very proud of our heritage and it’s a great opportunity to not only inform children about the history of Bury St Edmunds, it’s also an opportunity for everybody in the town to celebrate it, and obviously it will be a tourist attraction.”

It is believed that on November 20, 1214 – Saint Edmund’s Day – the barons came to the abbey to swear their allegiance to each other to force King John to seal the charter.

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The document, which later became known as the Magna Carta, was then sealed by the king on June 15, 1215, at Runnymede.

Three major events are planned to take place in Bury next year, including study day on September 20 with eminent professors from Oxford and Cambridge Universities and a light and sound event in the autumn.

Also in the pipeline are plans for one of the original copies of the Magna Carta to be on show in the treasury at St Edmundsbury Cathedral over the Easter period.

Mrs Charlesworth and the committee had been working for a couple of years on securing permission to borrow the copy of the charter from Lincoln Cathedral.

She said: “We are still planning for that to happen in May.

“We are waiting still for permission from the Cathedrals Fabric Commission.”