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October 17, 2016

Bristol 800 concert and events programme

The world famous Magna Carta was declared ‘null and void of all validity for ever’ by Pope Innocent III, at King John’s request. The Magna Carta was revised and reissued, in Bristol, on 12th November 1216. [*3] Only one copy of the Bristol Magna Carta is known to have survived. [*4]

The 800th anniversary of the Bristol Magna Carta will be marked at St James Priory in Bristol by the acclaimed Chandos Singers, UWE History professor Peter Fleming, and UK charity Freedom from Torture.

The venue – the oldest building in Bristol – is linked to the 1216 events and is next to Bristol bus station. Choral works from 1215 and 1216 and a few pieces composed since which relate to the Magna Carta will be sung.

The 12th November event is part of Bristol800 and of the Bristol 800 Universities Showcase weekend. All proceeds go to Freedom from Torture. This UK charity provides therapeutic and clinical services to survivors of torture who arrive in the UK, as well as striving to protect and promote their rights.

Malcolm Hill, conductor of the Chandos Singers, said today: “Choral works performed during 1200-1220 and a few pieces composed since which relate both to the original Magna Carta in 1215 under King John, the proclamation at St. Paul’s Cathedral of the future Louis VIII as King of England, and to the reissue in Bristol under the boy-king Henry III in 1216 will be sung.” [*5]

Professor Fleming added: “As a historian of medieval Bristol it’s great to be involved with this very worthwhile effort. In between the excellent renditions I’ll be saying a little about these historic documents, what they meant to Bristol, and what they continue to mean to our contemporary world

The organisers offer free tickets for carers accompanying ticket buyers: get in touch to arrange this. Seating is unreserved and on chairs, pews and benches. Some have restricted views, so please arrive early to choose your seat. Doors open 2.30pm.


Click here to book.

Click here for further information.


1): ‘Foul as it is, hell itself is made fouler by the presence of King John.’ On Tuesday 18 October, 6pm–7.30pm, The National Archives (London) holds a free talk on the life and reign of King John, who died 800 years ago, in October 1216. Professor David Carpenter, Professor Stephen Church and Dr Marc Morris will discuss the man, his life, his world and his reputation, with plenty of opportunities for questions from the audience. For more details and to register, visit:

Media enquiries only to: [email protected] or 020 8392 5277

2): The 9-year old King Henry III was crowned at Gloucester on 28 October 1216. The 800th anniversary is marked by ‘What happened at Henry III’s Coronation at Gloucester in 1216?’ – a talk on Friday 28 October, 7pm, at Gloucester Cathedral. That talk is part of Gloucester Cathedral’s King Henry III events – details from Gloucester Cathedral’s development officer, Laura Neale: T: 01452 874965; e: [email protected] Tickets for the 28 October talk: £12. Details:

3): The Runnymede Magna Carta of June 1215 was “effectively dead” by late August 1215, when – at King John’s request – the then Pope issued a document (known as a papal bull) declaring Magna Carta ‘null and void of all validity for ever’. In September 1215, civil war broke out between King John and his barons. The King raised an army of mercenaries to fight his cause, while the barons renounced their allegiance to him, and invited Prince Louis (1187-1226), son of the King of France, to accept the English crown. Louis invaded England in 1216, and England was still at war when John died of dysentery on the night of 18 October 1216. Magna Carta gained new life in the early years of the reign of the next king, Henry III. Henry was just nine years old when he succeeded to the throne, and in November 1216 in Bristol a revised version of Magna Carta was issued in his name, in order to regain the support of the barons. Another version of Magna Carta was granted in the following year, after the French army had been expelled from England. Adapted from British Library account:

4): The only known copy of the November 1216 Bristol Magna Carta is at Durham Cathedral. It contains 42 clauses (as compared to the 61 of the 1215 issue). Media enquiries to Ruth Robson, Head of Marketing & Events, Durham Cathedral. Tel: 0191 386 4266 See also:

5): St Paul’s Cathedral, London, on King Louis (published: June 2015):



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