Bury St Edmunds has a pivotal role in the history of Magna Carta. One chronicler relates that in 1214 a group of Barons met in St. Edmunds Abbey Church and swore an oath to compel King John to accept The Charter of Liberties, a proclamation of Henry I. It was the direct precursor to Magna Carta a year later.
The original 'Great Charter' was agreed by King John on 15th June 1215 when he acceded to barons’ and bishops’ demands to limit his powers and directed that it be sealed.
Council awarded a grant of £5,000 to the Bury St Edmunds Magna Carta 800 celebrations taking place during 2014 which was used in the following ways:
1) Images drawn by the 'Horrible Histories' artist Peter Crisp were then printed on 3 banners in the Cathedral exhibition. They were very popular with visiting families and schools.
2) Six Magna Carta art workshops were run in Bury St Edmunds Middle Schools to produce the panels for the final sculpture that would feature in the finale of the Light and Sound event. These involved visits to see the original Magna Carta on display in the Cathedral during May.
3) Historical costumed re-enactors were present at the Cathedral exhibition which added to the educational value of the Magna Carta exhibition during May.