Delegation from the US visit Bury St Edmunds to explore its Magna Carta links

A delegation of American Bar Association members visited Bury St Edmunds to learn about its ties to

A delegation of American Bar Association members visited Bury St Edmunds to learn about its ties to the Magna Carta. - Credit: Su Anderson

A delegation from the United States has visited Bury St Edmunds because of its “significant” link with the Magna Carta.

National celebrations are taking place to mark the 800th anniversary of the charter, which formed the foundation of democracy and our legal system.

Yesterday, a group from the American Bar Association (ABA) were in Bury on their UK trip to join in with the anniversary celebrations.

The ABA paid for the Magna Carta memorial at Runnymede which was put up following a meeting in 1957.

On their visit, the group - who were hosted by Magna Carta Trustee Margaret Charlesworth - took in St Edmundsbury Cathedral, the Abbey Gardens and Moyse’s Hall Museum.

It is believed 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.

Benes Aldana, from the ABA, said: “We knew Bury was a significant part of the history with the barons making a pledge to get King John to sign the Magna Carta.

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“We knew this was a special place and our friend James Durant has a special connection with Margaret Charlesworth, and Margaret was kind enough to host us here and show us around.”

He added: “It was lovely learning about the cathedral, the ruins and Saint Edmund.”

Mr Durant, who is London liaison for the Magna Carta 800th anniversary committee, said the trip had been “tremendous”.

The retired colonel, who was based at RAF Mildenhall, works for the US Government.

The group has seven days in the UK, with the trip also taking in Cambridge, London and Runnymede.

Bury St Edmunds is a Magna Carta Trust town.

•On Sunday, St Edmundsbury Cathedral is hosting an event called ‘LiberTeas’, which is part of the national celebrations to mark the 800th anniversary on Monday.

The event will be held at Pilgrims’ Kitchen at the cathedral, starting at 2pm, and free tea will be served for the next hour. Cakes will be available at a modest cost.

There will be the opportunity for people to speak for two minutes on why they think Magna Carta is important or why democracy matters. Anyone wishing to speak should contact Sarah Friswell on 01284 748726 or pr.manager@stedscathedral.org

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