Famous charter will go on show

A special copy of a rare historical document, which is seen as the conerstone of Britain’s constitution, will go on display in two north Northumberland communities.

Alnwick and Warkworth are to receive a facsimile of the 1215 edition of the Magna Carta, as part of next year’s worldwide celebrations to mark the famous charter’s 800 year anniversary.

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.

Centuries on from this landmark event, representatives from a number of the towns and villages of the rebel barons – including from Alnwick and Warkworth – have come together to form the Magna Carta Barons Association.

The aim is to mark 800 years of their communities’ history and the connection their barons had with a document that has become the foundation of the rights and liberties of much of the English-speaking world and beyond.

This will include displaying the Magna Carta facsimile, which will be printed on parchment for towns and villages within the Association, which includes areas in Essex, North Yorkshire and Somerset, among others.

Warkworth Parish Council and Warkworth History Society is planning to hold a series of events over the weekend before the anniversary on Monday, June 15.

Diana Webber, of the history society, said: “It is hoped to have a village celebration with a special exhibition around the facsimile of Magna Carta.

“The aim is to also have a barbecue, a specially-written play to be performed by Warkworth Drama Group, mediaeval craft demonstrations, an ecumenical church service, a school project from Warkworth First School and not least a special Magna Carta Ale.”

She added: “These events are still at the planning stage and I understand that English Heritage will also mark the event at Warkworth Castle.”

It is hoped that the facsimile Magna Carta will eventually hang in St Lawrence Church.

Alnwick Town Council clerk Bill Batey told the Gazette that a number of community events are also being planned, with the aim of involving local schools.

He added that the facsimile copy will be on display in a prominent part of the town and that there could be joint celebrations between Alnwick and Warkworth.