When we formed as an Association, we agreed a number of projects that we would organise for all our members. Not every village or town were obliged to participate in each one, but of course the more who could, the greater the impact. In addition to these projects, many other local events are taking place, including re-enactments, jousting, processions, exhibitions of embroidery, music, drama, and dozens of other community-based activities. The key events can be found on our Events Calendar, and more details direct from the organisers.
Magna Carta facsimile and exhibition
Our main project is to provide a parchment facsimile of one of the British Library’s four copies of the 1215 Magna Carta to each village or town where the Magna Carta barons had their chief manor (or caput). The facsimile is to be framed locally and a brass plate supplied by the Association to attach to the frame for those who want it (Peter, the MCBA chairman, is seen handing a facsimile to the mayor of Leicester, Peter Soulsby, in November 2014. Courtesy Leicester Mercury). With the facsimile, the Association has undertaken to provide two roller banners that can be displayed either side of the framed Magna Carta. One is about how Magna Carta came into existence, and the other about the local baron. Ultimately, each village and town will find a permanent place to display their facsimile for local residents, children and visitors to see. Funding for this project was provided by the Magna Carta Trust’s 800th Anniversary Commemoration Committee.
Magna Carta translation poster/leaflet
We hope to design a 16-page DL leaflet for use with the exhibition. One side will be a full translation of Magna Carta, provided by The Magna Carta Project at the University of East Anglia, and on the others side will be the text of an 8-page leaflet telling the story of how Magna Carta came into existence and the role of the twenty-five barons. A schematic map will show the locations of all their chief manors. This project is self-funded.
A ‘Magna Carta’ oak tree
Cuttings have been taken by the Woodland Trust from an 800-year-old oak tree that is known to have been associated with King John. It stands on privately owned land that used to be a deer park where John went hunting. The cuttings have been grafted onto oak stock and it is hoped that the resulting saplings will be strong enough to plant out in 2016/17. Twelve of our member villages and towns are preparing to plant them as a permanent reminder of their association with Magna Carta. This project is self-funded and supported by the Woodland Trust.
‘Magna Charta’ roses
As many plants as we can find in England have been obtained by our members to create horticultural displays. The ‘Magna Charta’ rose is an older variety, but it’s only connection with the events in 1215 is it’s name! This photograph from Curry Mallet in Somerset shows one of the first displays to be planted (25 April 2015). This project is self-funded.
‘Strike a Blow for Democracy’ and LiberTeas
Many of our villages and towns will be bell-ringing on Sunday 14 June with bell-ringers everywhere in the country as part of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers initiative. Some will also be organising a special church service, and others will follow the bell-ringing with a LiberTea, where residents will meet up for a cup of tea and cakes, with or without speeches and talks about Magna Carta, democracy and freedom! This project is self-funded.
The Magna Carta bike ride
Lance Allan, the Town Clerk at Trowbridge Town Council, one of our members, is cycling to each of the twenty-five Magna Carta barons’ villages and towns! This will symbolise 800 years in 800 miles. Lance will be leaving Curry Mallet in Somerset on Saturday 20 June and arrive in Alnwick in Northumberland on Sunday 28 June. At each stop, our members will be providing him with sustenance for the next leg of his journey! See his website here for details about his raising money for the ‘Dorothy House Hospice Care’ and here for ‘Re~cycle (Bicycle Aid for Africa)’.
Magna Carta merchandise
Because most of our projects are self-funded, we agreed to produce a Magna Carta greetings card and a tea-towel to produce some profit which the Association or our members could use. The Suffolk Heraldry Society kindly gave us permission to use their artwork for the twenty-five barons’ arms.