St Albans launches Magna Carta celebrations

Looking at one of the exhibits at the Magna Carta 1213-1215: The Journey Starts Here exhibition are,

Looking at one of the exhibits at the Magna Carta 1213-1215: The Journey Starts Here exhibition are, from left, the Mayor of Runnymede Cllr Yvonna Lay,Mayor of St Albans Cllr Annie Brewster, deputy Mayor and Mayoress of Windsor and Maidenhead Cllr John Lenton and Margaret Lenton. - Credit: Photo supplied

THE 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta is being celebrated with a diverse range of events in St Albans – a city which holds a unique place in the history of the iconic charter.

Residents will be offered a rare opportunity to see an original copy of the 1215 Magna Carta at the Abbey, on loan from Lincoln Cathedral.

St Albans Mayor Cllr Annie Brewster launched the “Magna Carta 1213-1215: the Journey Starts Here” exhibition at the Museum of St Albans, Hatfield Road, last Thursday.

The free exhibition is one of a number of activities organised to mark the city’s key role in the creation of the Magna Carta.

The historic charter sets out fundamental human rights and is the foundation stone supporting freedoms enjoyed by millions of people around the world.

St Albans earned its place as a Charter Town when back on August 4, 1213, barons and clergy met at St Albans Abbey to discuss severe grievances against King John.

It was here that the King’s Justiciar – a regent and deputy presiding over the court of an early Plantagenet King of England – agreed to pay compensation to address those grievances.

Most Read

That historic meeting eventually led to the articles that became Magna Carta, which was sealed at Runnymede in 1215.

Cllr Julian Daly, leader of the council, said: “Local people are proud of the role St Albans played in setting events in motion for the sealing of the Magna Carta 800 years ago.”

The historic document will be on show in a special climate-controlled environment at the Abbey from Saturday, August 3, to Thursday, August 29.

It will be the first time that an original copy of the charter will be on display in St Albans.

The Rev Kevin Walton, canon at the Abbey, said it was “fitting” the church would play an important part in national celebrations. Tickets must be purchased to view the document.

n The Magna Carta 1213: the Journey Starts Here exhibition started on June 1, and runs until September 15;

n On Saturday, August 3, the Abbey will host a concert by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and St Albans Chamber Choir, inspired by themes and the spirit of the Magna Carta;

n A medieval festival will be held at Verulamium Park from 10am to 4pm on the weekend of August 3-4 with a historical encampment, craft activities, equestrian, combat and archery skill displays;

n You can create your own “Manga Carta” at a drop-in workshop with a Manga artist being held at the Clock Tower on the High Street from August 3-4.

n On Sunday, August 4, there will be a procession through Verulamium Park to the Abbey for Evensong.

For more information on these and other activities or where to purchase tickets see or phone St Albans Tourist and Information Centre on 01727 864511.