800 years ago on a meadow on the bank of the River Thames in Runnymede, Surrey, the foundations of democracy were put to parchment. Following months of civil war, the country’s Barons and the monarch, King John, issued a charter enshrining that everybody was subject to the law – even the king himself.
Known as Magna Carta (or Great Charter) the document contained a list of 63 clauses some of which remain part of the law today. The most well-known of these include the right to a fair trial by a jury. But also from the Charter came the foundations of Parliament and early forms of the House of Lords and the House of Commons appeared. Another result of the Charter was that all taxes must be approved by such Parliaments and not just set by the monarch at will.
And now 800 years later, the medieval city of Lincoln is gearing up to celebrate the legacy of this document which has impacted many democracies around the world, including the United States of America, India, and South Africa.
Over the course of ten days a festival, known as Festival800, will celebrate our relationship with this document with a series of talks, performances and workshops by some of the world’s most famous personalities, historians, and artists. With so many events planned for the festival it is no surprise that thousands of people are expected to attend with direct trains from London being arranged.
David Lambert, Festival800’s director, said: “The countdown to has officially started! People are flying in from across the globe; we can’t wait to welcome then to the city and county.”
He added that: “Each performer and speaking has their own unique story to share and its relationship with Magna Carta’s impact on society.”
The launch of the festival will be held on the grounds of Lincoln Castle, home to one of the four known remaining copies of the original Magna Carta. During the grand opening a giant Magna Carta themes sand sculpture, built by Paul and Remy Hoggard, will be revealed to the crowds.
For more information about the event you can visit Festival800, take a look at their Facebook page. And don’t forget to stay tuned to Siren FM’s website, Twitter, and our Facebook page for the latest interviews and pictures from the launch event on Friday 28th August from 11am.