Secrets and intrigue in medieval Bury St Edmunds played a part in the birth of the Magna Carta. In 1214 a group of barons met secretly in St Edmunds Abbey to swear an oath to urge King John to accept a 'Charter of Liberties.'
The charter laid down laws regarding the treatment of nobles, church officials and individuals. A year later a direct descendant of the Charter of Liberties was signed on the banks of the River Thames – the Magna Carta.
The Magna Carta ('the Great Charter') sought to limit the powers of the monarch and ensure that England was governed according to the feudal laws at the time. The importance of this charter can be felt today through its resonance in English law. Every 15 years Bury St Edmunds celebrates the part it played in the foundations of English law.
For more details on upcoming activities and Bury St Edmunds' role in the Magna Carta story, visit: The Magna Carta 800