King’s Lynn marks Magna Carta 800th anniversary

Falconry  displays will feature in the Magna Carta anniversary celebrations in Lynn town centre

Falconry displays will feature in the Magna Carta anniversary celebrations in Lynn town centre

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A range of free medieval themed activities will be held in Lynn this weekend as the town marks the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta – the document which laid the foundations for modern rights and freedoms.

Magna Carta 800 will include falconry displays, fire breathing, a knights’ tournament and historical enactments and will be based in Tuesday Market Place from 10 am until 4pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

Cllr Elizabeth Nockolds, cabinet member for culture, heritage and health, said: “The Magna Carta had a huge impact upon shaping the rights and freedoms we enjoy today and our fun family event will celebrate this and Lynn’s particular links with infamous King John.”

As well as enjoying the exciting displays, people will be able to learn more about King John’s Magna Carta and the monarch’s particular associations with Lynn at Lynn Museum.

One of the things they will discover is that King’s Lynn was one of the places to mint King John pennies during John’s reign.

In recognition of this, people will be able to strike their own King John pennies as a souvenir of the day. The pennies can also be used to pay the storyteller based in Baxter’s Plain.

For the price of a King John Penny, the storyteller will tell you tales of ancient kings, saints and exciting adventures. Entry to the museum is free on both days.

During the weekend, families will also be invited to take part in the King John treasure trail. The trail takes a route around King’s Lynn’s streets, where participants will search for pennies hidden in shop windows and solve the word clues to be in with a chance of winning their own bag of treasure.

Treasure maps are available in Tuesday Market Place, King’s Lynn Tourist Information Centre and Lynn Museum or can be downloaded from www.visitwestnorfolk.com or www.west-norfolk.gov.uk/events (follow the links for Magna Carta 800).

At 3pm on Sunday, King’s Lynn will join in with the national Liberteas celebration.

King’s Lynn Minster will ring a quarter peal of bells.

There will also be a brief dramatisation, in which King John seals the Magna Carta after a heated debate with his barons, in the Tuesday Market Place. Finally, the actor playing King John will take a symbolic toast of tea, with the Borough Mayor and Mayoress, Colin and Julie Manning, in celebration of the rights and freedoms that the Magna Carta secured.

The anniversary of the Magna Carta and King John’s connections with King’s Lynn are also the subject of an exhibition at King’s Lynn Tourist Information Centre which runs until the end of June (£1 entrance fee applies).

With special focus on the King John Charter, the exhibition provides a real insight into why, this famously unpopular king found such support in the town.

The TIC has also organised a free prize quiz for children this weekend

Magna Carta 800 has been organised by West Norfolk Council and is part of Stories of Lynn – an ambitious project which as received £1,850,600 of Heritage Lottery funding and funding from the borough council and is being delivered in partnership with Norfolk Museums Service and Norfolk Record Office.

For more information about the project visit: www.west-norfolk.gov.uk/storiesoflynn