Magna Carta is widely recognised as one of the most significant documents in the world.
The Lincoln Magna Carta – one of the four remaining copies of the original – was on display in the Cathedral Treasury, Bury St Edmunds during May 2014. It will be on display with the other three in 2015 in the British Library to commemorate the national 800th anniversary.
While 2015 will be celebrated nationally (and internationally) as the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta, Bury St Edmunds had reason to celebrate in 2014. Professor David Carpenter’s recent research presents compelling evidence that the Barons met on 19 October 1214 at the shrine of St. Edmund – about a month before the feast of St. Edmund (20 November).
In 1849 two commemorative plaques were erected in the ruins of the Abbey Church and the Borough’s motto Sacrarium Regis, Cunabula Legis (Shrine of the King, Cradle of the Law) seems to date from this time. Pageants have been held in Bury St. Edmunds in 1907, 1959 and 2014 and these have celebrated the connection between the town and Magna Carta.
Plaque commemorating the pageant in 1959, in the Abbey Gardens at the entrance to the water garden.
The barons’ meeting at the Abbey started a chain of events that led to the creation of Magna Carta. 800 years later, the town of Bury St Edmunds commemorated this with a series of events in which the Bury Society played a significant role. Three major events occurred, details of which can be found by following the links below.
The historic presence of Magna Carta in the Treasury at the Cathedral
The Light and Sound festival around the town centre
The Magna Carta 800 reception in the Cathedral concluded the 800th anniversary celebrations
The Bury Society
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