Celebrating 800th Magna Carta anniversary

Mayor of Alnwick Bill Grisdale, Sue Patience, Dr Sally Sample, Sally Black, Fred Calvert, The Lord Mayor of the City Of London, Diana Webber, Malcolm Groves, Pat Calvert and Dorothy Groves.
Mayor of Alnwick Bill Grisdale, Sue Patience, Dr Sally Sample, Sally Black, Fred Calvert, The Lord Mayor of the City Of London, Diana Webber, Malcolm Groves, Pat Calvert and Dorothy Groves.

Two north Northumberland communities are holding a series of events to mark the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta.

The document, meaning Great Charter, was agreed at Runnymede, Surrey, in 1215, and was signed between barons of medieval England and King John.

Among the key barons were John FitzRobert, described as lord of Warkworth Castle, and lord of Alnwick, Eustace de Vesci.

As a result, both Warkworth and Alnwick are marking this connection with a range of celebrations.

A special weekend of commemorations, supported and part-funded by Warkworth Parish Council, are planned for the village.

On Friday, June 12, there will be a Magna Party at the village cricket club from 6pm. There will be refreshments and live music. Tickets for the event are available from the village’s Masons Arms pub or from the Post Office.

A busy programme has been lined up on Saturday, June 13, with daytime and evening entertainment.

During the day, the United Reformed Church hall will host an exhibition of facsimile Magna Carta, with historical background. The results of a competition for Year 4 pupils of the three local first schools will also be exhibited. Refreshments will be available throughout the day.

There will also be demonstrations of mediaeval crafts in St Lawrence churchyard. These will include a wheelwright, leather-worker, silversmith, pole-lathe wood-turner, spinner, basket-maker and weaver, amongst others.

The churchyard will provide an outdoor stage for Warkworth Drama Group’s short play about the Magna Carta, which has been specially written for the occasion. It will be performed at 11am and 2pm

A children workshop and story-telling for young and old will take place in St Lawrence Church, while history walks are also planned for during the day.

A Magna Concert will be held in the village’s Memorial Hall on the Saturday at 7.30pm, but is sold out.

On Sunday, June 14, there will be an ecumenical service of celebration in St Lawrence Church at 3pm.

Sir Alan Beith will be guest speaker and the framed Magna Carta facsimile will be on view. Tea will be served. For more details, visit www.warkworth.co.uk or call 01665 713439.

In Alnwick, the Bailiffgate Museum is currently holding a Magna Carta-themed exhibition, which runs until Sunday, July 5.

People can learn about the connections of the local De Vesci family to this world-famous document and see a facsimile of Magna Carta itself.

Two banners have also been produced through the Magna Carta Barons Association and depict information about Eustace de Vesci and the Magna Carta.

Winning entries of a schools’ competition, organised by Alnwick Town Council, are also on show.

The museum will host a free talk about de Vesci on Monday, June 15, starting at 7.30pm. Call 01665 605847 or visit bailiffgatemuseum.co.uk for more information.

The town council, which has supported the Magna Carta events in Alnwick, is planning to plant English oak trees as part of the commemorative celebrations.

The first of these will be planted on Sunday, June 28, by the town clerk of Trowbridge, Lance Allen.

Setting off from Trowbridge the previous Saturday, Lance will have cycled 800 miles by the time he reaches Alnwick, visiting each Baron Town on his way.

Alnwick will be his last stop and during his visit he will accompany the Mayor Bill Grisdale to see the Magna Carta exhibition, plant an oak sapling and be treated to some local fare before heading off home again.

The town council will also be purchasing an 800th anniversary book on the Magna Carta which will be presented to the Alnwick Library after the exhibition.

Last month, representatives from Alnwick and Warkworth attended an official gathering in London, as part of the Magna Carta celebrations.