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Magna Carta 800

Throughout 2015, Trowbridge played a great part in the nationwide celebrations of the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta. This was mainly due to its historical status as one of the 23 baron towns which campaigned to have the then ruler King John sign the document in 1215. Below you will find articles highlighting some of the events that took place.

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Representatives from Trowbridge travelled to London as part of the town’s Magna Carta 800 commemorations. A combination of town council officers,dignitaries and local business people, the group visited the Mansion House along with representatives of other Magna Carta baronial towns.
    The occasion commemorated the seizure of London in May 1215, when forces supporting the barons forced King John into negotiations which resulted in the sealing of Magna Carta at Runnymede in June of that year.

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Thousands discover Trowbridge’s rich Magna Carta heritage thanks to national funding
Trowbridge was home to one of the Magna Carta Barons, Henry de Bohun. In February 2015 the Town Council successfully secured a National Heritage Lottery grant of £13,700, this was in addition to the £10,000 that had been secured from the 800th Anniversary Committee in November 2014, to support a series of high profile events and activities to celebrate its rich Magna Carta heritage.

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The town's Magna Carta events commenced with the official opening of the Museum’s ‘Magna Carta Game of Barons’ exhibition by Wiltshire’s Lord Lieutenant, Sarah Troughton, on Saturday 25th February. Nearly 6,000 visitors came to the exhibition until it finished on 25th July. Over 1,000 schoolchildren engaged with the Museum’s Magna Carta and Medieval Life sessions during the summer term and during the school holidays adults and children experienced our Medieval History Day and learned to weave and dye Medieval cloth and create Medieval banners using screen printing.

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On 25th April Trowbridge hosted its first ever historical Conference. Our Magna Carta Conference was a great success, a sell-out attended by over 250 people, with enthusiastic local support. The Civic Centre proved an excellent venue. The event was the largest of its kind in Europe.

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As part of our Magna Carta event and Medieval Fayre at the end of July we held our first ever Business Expo. 44 local businesses attended and it attracted 500 visitors.
    Trowbridge’s Civic Centre was the chosen venue for the world premiere of Horrible Histories - Barmy Britain. This sell-out event included a special Magna Carta element including a reference to Henry de Bohun.

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Our Magna Carta event and Medieval Fayre took place on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th July 9,000 people enjoyed Medieval re-enactments, falconry displays, Medieval craft activities and Medieval story-telling and music. On Sunday 26th July many hundreds attended the Medieval jousting and National Town Crier’s Competition.

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In addition, we have taken many international visitors on tours of Trowbridge’s Magna Carta heritage sites and our Town Clerk, Lance Allan, cycled 800 miles in eight days, visiting all 23 Magna Carta Baron towns and raising £3,000 for Charity. Trowbridge’s community has also enthusiastically participated in this special year. The original Parish Church of St James was founded by Henry de Bohun and the Church developed its own Magna Carta exhibition, attracting some 500 visitors. The church carried out bellringing to coincide with the Strike a Blow for Liberty national event to commemorate the signing of the Magna Carta and showcased fantastic commemorative floral displays.
    The Trowbridge in Bloom Committee made Magna Carta and Baron Henry de Bohun the focus for their competitions starting with the Secondary Schools Public Speaking Contest in February when the Sixth Form Teams’ subject was Is Magna Carta still relevant today? The theme continued with the use of Henry’s Baronial colours of blue/white and gold used in public and residential planting. The Big Community Grow made full use of our perfectly located Park and organised a wonderful Magna Carta Liberteas Big Lunch.
    2015 has definitely been the year to truly Discover Trowbridge -  the Magna Carta Baron Town!
    To keep up to date with all national news and events, visit magnacarta800.

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Trowbridge’s Magna Carta 800 celebrations culminated with one local couple being honoured in appreciation of all their work throughout the year.
    Angela and Andy Milroy were presented with a Certificate of Civic Appreciation at a special awards evening to celebrate all of the efforts by local groups and individuals for the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. The couple had been at the forefront  of a series of events honouring Trowbridge’s Henry de Bohun, one of the rebel barons who forced King John to negotiate and consequently seal the Magna Carta.
    The couple, Trowbridge residents for more than 40 years, added they first became interested in the Magna Carta after finding out that Henry de Bohun was from the town. Mr Milroy said: “We got involved because we find it so interesting and it opened up a whole new interest for people in Trowbridge to learn about the heritage of the town. It has received a huge amount of support and for me, I think the highlight was seeing the Henry de Bohun statue in the museum which was very popular.”