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Durham Cathedral are in possession of three separate issues of Magna Carta – making it the repository of a wealth of knowledge that shaped Medieval England. Both Durham Cathedral and Durham City will be participating in the international commemoration of The Great Charter, hosting events at home and abroad – the Cathedral’s 1225 issue of Magna Carta will go on tour in Canada in 2015.

A special exhibition, Magna Carta and the Changing Face of Revolt, will offer a unique exhibition in 2015. Using Magna Carta as a starting point, it will trace revolutions and rebellions across history.

To find out more about commemoration events in Durham, please click here.

Magna Carta and the Changing Face of Revolt

1 June – 31 August 2015
www.thisisdurham.com

Durham Cathedral in Durham City, often cited as the greatest Norman building in Europe, holds three editions of Magna Carta dated 1216, 1225 and 1300, which demonstrate the evolution of the original.

In the summer of 2015, see the only surviving 1216 issue of the Magna Carta in a fascinating exhibition at Durham University’s Palace Green Library, in the heart of Durham City’s UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Magna Carta and the Changing Face of Revolt, 1 June to 31 August 2015, will show one of the three issues of the charter held by the Cathedral, alongside material from the University’s collections and other museums, libraries and archives. Often seen in terms of the foundation of liberty and the establishment of the rule of law, what happens if we think of Magna Carta as an outcome of rebellion, forced on an overbearing king by disgruntled barons? Exploring questions about the nature of rebellion, through the Wars of the Roses, Civil Wars, Jacobite rebellions and Chartist movements, this exhibition is a unique opportunity to discover the people who, whether intentionally or not, became rebels, and to see some iconic material associated with their actions.

Click here for more information.

The Great Charter – Magna Carta Community Opera

Saturday 13th June, Durham Cathedral.
Saturday 20th June, Middlesborough Cathedral.

Image: detail from an Emma Bridgewater mug designed in celebration of the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. Available in the Cathedral Shop from the end of May.

Image: detail from an Emma Bridgewater mug designed in celebration of the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. Available in the Cathedral Shop from the end of May.

Young people from County Durham and Middlesbrough join with local singers and professional musicians to celebrate the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta through words and music. The main themes of equality before the law, democracy, and freedom have been woven together by composer Timothy Craig Harrison and librettist Paul Hodgson, to create The Great Charter, a new opera spread across two periods in time: that of 13th-century King John and a futuristic totalitarian state controlled by the Protector.

Tickets (Durham Cathedral): ): £15, £10 & £8 (£13, £8 & £6 concessions, under 16s free) available from the Gala Theatre Box Office www.galadurham.co.uk or 03000 266600.

Tickets (Middlesbrough Cathedral): £10 (£8 concessions, under 16s free) available from the Gala Theatre Box Office www.galadurham.co.uk or 03000 266600.

Durham Cathedral is located at the heart of the Durham UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the seat of the Bishop of Durham. It is renowned as the Shrine of St Cuthbert and the resting place of the Venerable Bede. Free entry for all.

St Mary’s Cathedral is the Mother Church of the Catholic community in the Diocese of Middlesbrough and seat of Bishop Terence Patrick Drainey.

In partnership with Durham County Council, made possible with support of the David Boardman Trust.

Magna Carta Lectures

Discover new perspectives on citizenship, Magna Carta and popular revolt in our programme of lectures which are open to all.


Citizenship has always been as much a form of control and regulation as it has been the basis of popular empowerment and inclusion. It has been both an instrument of social cohesion and a source of conflict. This series of lectures offers a range of perspectives on the issues of citizenship, power, identity, and governance today.





The following 4 talks are being delivered by IMEMS at Palace Green Library Learning Centre and are all FREE to attend

Geographies and Genealogies of Citizenship
Wednesday 3 June 2015, 6pm
Speaker: Professor Lynn Staeheli, Durham University

This event is part of the “From Subjects to Citizens? 800 Years and Citizen Politics” Seminar Series in conjuntion with the Magna Carta and the Changing Face of Revolt Exhibition. Please note that places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Click here for information.

A Precariat Charter: From Denizens to Citizens
Wednesday 10 June 2015, 6pm
Speaker: Professor Guy Standing, University of London

This event is part of the “From Subjects to Citizens? 800 Years and Citizen Politics” Seminar Series in conjunction with the Magna Carta and the Changing Face of Revolt Exhibition. Please note that places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Click here for more information.

Good versus bad institutions? Citizenship in colonial Latin and North America, 16th – 18th centuries.
Wednesday 17 June 2015, 6pm
Speaker: Professor Maarten Prak, University of Utrecht

This event is part of the “From Subjects to Citizens? 800 Years and Citizen Politics” Seminar Series in conjunction with the Magna Carta and the Changing Face of Revolt Exhibition. Please note that places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Click here for more information.

Between Subjects and Citizens: the Commons of England, c. 1300 -1550
Wednesday 24 June 2015, 6pm
Speaker: Professor John Watts, University of Oxford

This event is part of the “From Subjects to Citizens? 800 Years and Citizen Politics” Seminar Series in conjunction with the Magna Carta and the Changing Face of Revolt Exhibition. Please note that places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Click here for more information.

Other Talks:

David Starkey on Magna Carta
Friday 5 June 2015, 7.30pm
Venue: Gala Durham.

This leading constitutional historian, known for his forthright views, talks about the agreement that first limited the power of the monarch by stating the basic rights, privileges, and liberties of leading citizens. There are few who better understand the way the most powerful have thought
throughout our history. His assessment of how our constitution stands today, will provoke and challenge.

Tickets: £15 (£13 concessions), £12 Gala Friends
available from www.galadurham.co.uk
or 0300 026 6600

Magna Carta: The View from Durham
Thursday 2 July 2015, 6pm
Durham University.
Speaker: Professor Nicholas Vincent, University of East Anglia

Includes a visit to the exhibition and drinks reception. Durham Cathedral boasts one of the finest collections of Magna Carta manuscripts to survive, including the only remaining original of the 1216 issue. But why did Durham retain so rich a haul of manuscripts? What role did Durham or its bishops play in 1215, the subsequent civil war, or in the survival of Magna Carta as a guarantee of English
legal custom?

Tickets: £10
Click here to book tickets and for more information.

Rebellious Citizens: 800 Years of Citizen Politics
Wednesday 8 July 2015, 6pm
Durham University.
Speaker: Dr. Christian Liddy (pictured), Durham University, and academic curator of the exhibition.

Includes a visit to the exhibition and drinks reception. Magna Carta was the product of revolt. At different points in British history the identity, rights, and responsibilities of the citizen have provoked resistance to authority. They remain a point of contention today, debated and fought over all around the world. Rebellion was – and is – the consequence of a contested and ever-changing definition of citizenship.

Tickets: £10
Click here to book tickets and for more information.

Family Activities

Magna Carta Medieval Weekend
Saturday 8 August, 10.00am–4.30pm & Sunday 9 August, 12.30pm–4.30pm

Meet the Medieval townsfolk and craftspeople as they take up residence within the Cathedral grounds – encounter a delightful array of sounds, smells and sights from a bygone era. See demonstrations of pastimes and skills that filled their daily life, and be entertained with music, dancing and mumming plays. Join in with games and soldiers’ drill, or try your hand at skills such as rope making, candle dipping, butter churning and striking your own coin. An exciting and educational experience for all the family!

A free event, open to all. No need to book!
www.durhamcathedral.co.uk









‘Make and Take’ Sessions.
Throughout the school summer holidays, come to our fun Magna Carta events for all
the family.

Every afternoon, 1– 3pm there will be a FREE ‘make and take’ activity to entertain children.
From crowns to coats of arms, writing with a quill to making flags there is something for children of all ages. FREE to attend and there is no need to book but all children should be accompanied by an adult.

Older children and family members will also enjoy our informal talks – every Tuesday and Thursday, from 2pm–3pm, during the school holidays – this is your chance to find out more about Magna Carta and the themes explored in the exhibition. All informal talks are FREE to attend and there is no need to book.

Featured Article

Introduction – Runnymede and all that. Winston Churchill described the Magna Carta as “the foundation of principles and systems of government of which neither King John or his nobles dreamed”. Now in Politics we’re used to the law of unintended consequences...

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