St Albans could coin it in from Magna Carta

The Magna Carta arrives at St Albans Abbey

The Magna Carta arrives at St Albans Abbey - Credit: Archant

St Albans’ unique role in the history of the iconic Magna Carta could be commemorated on a coin and stamp as part of 800th anniversary celebrations, it is hoped.

The city earned its place as one of 10 Charter Towns when in August 1213 St Albans Abbey was the venue of the first meeting between barons and clergy to discuss their grievances against “bad” King John.

That historic meeting eventually led to the articles that became Magna Carta, sealed at Runnymede, another Charter Town, in 1215.

The Magna Carta 800th committee has revealed a long list of wishes for next year’s anniversary celebrations for the document, which marked a sea change in rights and freedoms and is a symbol for justice and fairness in the UK and internationally.

The committee’s aspirations include launching commemorative stamps for each of the Charter Towns and having coins in circulation bearing the sites on their reverse.

While it remains a wish at this stage, the idea has been welcomed by Eric Roberts of St Albans Civic Society.

He said: “We were the first place and I think it’s a wonderful idea. It would put St Albans well and truly on the map and it would be a wonderful opportunity to increase visitor footfall.

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“It’s part of our heritage.”

The Abbey exhibited a priceless 1215 Magna Carta on loan from Lincoln Cathedral last year, drawing a whopping 14,500 visitors.

The exhibition was one of many activities hosted in St Albans to kick off 800th anniversary celebrations of the first issue of Magna Carta at Runnymede.

The 800th committee has revealed it would also like to campaign for a UK public holiday on June 15, 2015, and have a Magna Carta walkway around Parliament and other institutions related to the charter.