St Albans bids farewell to Magna Carta

Mayor of St Albans councillor Annie Brewster with the Magna Carta as it is prepared for departure fr

Mayor of St Albans councillor Annie Brewster with the Magna Carta as it is prepared for departure from the Abbey - Credit: Archant

A PRICELESS Magna Carta has proved a huge drawcard for the city with a whopping 14,500 people visiting St Albans Cathedral during a recent exhibition.

Cheers rang out again at the Cathedral last week as the iconic 1215 Magna Carta was carefully packed and removed from a bulletproof room to be returned to Lincoln.

The parchment is one of just four original copies remaining and was on loan from Lincoln Cathedral during August.

The precious document was greeted with loud cheering and clapping on August 1, with its historic arrival in the city featuring on television.

It was immediately housed in a temporary ultra-secure room usually used by government, banks, military and the police, where the highest level of safe storage is needed.

St Albans Cathdral was the location of the first meeting between fractious barons and clergy to discuss grievances against King John – popularly named as the “bad king” in the story of Robin Hood.

This city has kicked off 800th anniversary celebrations of the first issue of Magna Carta at Runnymede in 1215 with the Cathedral’s special exhibition the centrepiece of a range of local activities.

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The Very Rev Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans Cathedral, said he felt a “bit sad seeing it go, as it has been a privilege having it here.

“It has boosted visitor numbers and made August very lively. However there is also a little bit of relief as I can stop feeling responsible for it!”

Mayor of St Albans Cllr Annie Brewster congratulated all involved in 800th anniversary events across the city and, “particularly the team at the Cathedral who have created such a marvellous Magna Carta experience for the thousands of visitors who have patiently queued to see it.

“Good luck to our sister Magna Carta cities for their celebrations leading up to the 2015 anniversary of the actual sealing of the document at Runnymede.”

n A crew from America has been filming the Cathedral with remote-control aerial cameras while it has been exhibiting Magna Carta.

Guy Madley, the Cathedral’s business and projects officer, said video footage included time-lapse photography of the historic building during sunset and sunrise.

The parent company of the firm which protected the parchment in St Albans will use the footage for a case study on securing priceless items such as Magna Carta in a public setting like the Cathedral.