King’s Lynn celebrates 800 years of Magna Carta

On the Tuesday Market Place, King John sealed the Magna Carta after a heated debate with the barons.

On the Tuesday Market Place, King John sealed the Magna Carta after a heated debate with the barons. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

To celebrate the town's links with the infamous king, a weekend of celebrations were held to mark the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta.

On the Tuesday Market Place, King John sealed the Magna Carta after a heated debate with the barons.

On the Tuesday Market Place, King John sealed the Magna Carta after a heated debate with the barons. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

The town stepped back to the medieval times with historical enactments and activities to represent the events that happened when the document was signed on June 15, 1215.

Colin Manning, Mayor of West Norfolk, said: 'The celebrations this weekend have been absolutely fantastic.

'I've heard so many fascinating stories about King John's reign, with many conflicting messages about whether he was a good or bad king.

'But he had this special connection with King's Lynn, and it's important for us to celebrate the liberty's that the Magna Carta brought when it was signed.'


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Although King John was widely unpopular throughout his reign of England, he had a very special connection with King's Lynn.

In 1204, he granted the town with The King John Charter, meaning the area could be ruled locally and was exempt from paying taxes to the crown.

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This charter also helped King's Lynn create a merchants gild, which allowed the town to prosper and become one of the largest and busiest ports in the country.

Lynn was one of the places to mint King John Pennies during his reign and, in recognition of this, visitors were able to strike their own King John Penny at Lynn Museum.

As the king, who ruled from 1199 to 1216, reputedly lost his valuable treasure while trying to cross The Wash, families were invited to take part in a King John themed treasure trail.

The weekend's festivities cumulated into an historical performance on the Tuesday Market Place where King John seals the Magna Carta after a heated debate with his 25 barons.

- Is your town or village celebrating a historical link? Email louise.hepburn@archant.co.uk

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