Bury St Edmunds: Plans revealed for light and sound show to celebrate town’s link with Magna Carta

A picture supplied by the Bury Magna Carta 800 committee of the 1907 pageant in Bury. Showing the Ba

A picture supplied by the Bury Magna Carta 800 committee of the 1907 pageant in Bury. Showing the Barons. - Credit: Contributed

Images of Magna Carta pageants dating back to 1907 and 1959 will be projected onto the sides of buildings in Bury St Edmunds as part of the town’s celebrations to mark its link with the charter.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council has been awarded £20,000 from the Magna Carta Trust’s national 800th anniversary commemoration committee for a light and sound spectacular in Bury in October.

The light and sound trail 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. The trail will follow the route the pilgrims would have taken down Churchgate Street. Although the final details are to be confirmed, the show is set to take place over three consecutive nights of two weekends at the end of October

Margaret Charlesworth, chairman of the Bury Magna Carta 800 committee, which is organising the light and sound show, said: “Once again, Bury St Edmunds has the chance to remind us all about the town’s historic role in our nation’s heritage, and of its great importance in medieval times when kings and others regularly visited.


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“While next year marks the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta and its sealing in Runnymede, our story in Bury St Edmunds began a year earlier when the barons reputedly met on St Edmunds Day, November 20, in the Abbey Gardens.

“The barons’ aim was to limit John’s powers and protect their rights. Although the barons were acting in their own self-interests, Magna Carta is the basis for the US Constitution and the Human Rights Act, which are integral parts of Western life today.

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“We are looking forward to putting on a celebration to remember.”

As part of the celebrations in Bury this year, a copy of the Magna Carta was on display at St Edmundsbury Cathedral last month, and was viewed by more than 9,000 people.

Councillor Sarah Stamp, St Edmundsbury’s cabinet member for leisure, culture and heritage, said: “This light and sound show will put people in the medieval mood and celebrate Bury’s heritage as the Shrine of the King and Cradle of the Law, as commemorated in our council’s motto ‘Sacrarium Regis, Cunabula Legis’.”

The latest funding follows £84,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, some of which was used for the loan and display of the Magna Carta last month.

The local Magna Carta 800 committee has also organised a study day on September 20 with eminent professors.

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