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Salisbury Cathedral is extremely proud to be home to the finest of the four surviving original 1215 Magna Carta.  It plans to take a leading role in the 2015 celebrations marking the 800th anniversary of the historic and iconic document, inscribed in the UNESCO ‘Memory of the World’ register and which has a legacy of enduring global influence. Our Magna Carta is on permanent display to visitors in our newly-conserved Chapter House.

The Salisbury Connection

At Runnymede King John was urged to accept the demands of the barons and agree Magna Carta by his half-brother, William Longspeé, whose Effigy is in Salisbury Cathedral. Also present at Runnymede was Elias of Dereham, who at the time was steward to one of the key players in the crisis, the Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton. Elias himself was a skilled negotiator and was at the very centre of the discussions between the King and the barons. Once Magna Carta was agreed and sealed he was entrusted with delivering ten of the thirteen copies made, one of which was given to the original cathedral at Old Sarum. Elias later became a Canon of Old Sarum before masterminding the building of the present Salisbury Cathedral.

Salisbury’s copy of Magna Carta 2015 is in excellent condition.  Written in a neat business hand, it is closer in some ways to a book hand than to the business hand of the royal chancery.  It has various medieval and post-medieval endorsements including anno domini 1215 written in a hand very similar to that of the antiquary and herald Robert Glover. It is assumed to be the exemplar of the charter delivered to Wiltshire and thence stored in the cathedral archives.


Spirit of Justice, Power of Words (From 1st March)

A new, interactive exhibition presents the world’s best preserved original 1215 Magna Carta in its historic context, explaining its legacy and relevance today. Using displays, artefacts, interactive stations and video in the Cloisters and Chapter House, it is designed to appeal to visitors of all ages. Voluntary donation for exhibition and Cathedral.
Timed entry during peak periods – book in advance online.

Squidsoup (13 June – 15 September):
Squidsoup are an international group of artists whose work combines sounds, light, physical space and virtual worlds produce immersive and emotive headspaces where participants take an active role in the experience. Their work will feature:

‘Enlightenment’, at the North porch:
A light and sound installation inspired by the impact of Magna Carta.

‘The Power of Words’, Morning Chapel:
An interactive piece where you can transform the Chapel, using words from the text of Magna Carta, projected on its walls.


Magna Carta Gala Concert (Saturday 13th June, 19:00)
The première of a major new choral work by Tarik O’Regan set to text by Alice Goodman plus music by Elgar, Mozart and Pergolesi. Tickets: £5 – £50 available from March from 01722 320333.

Magna Cantata (Tuesday 7th-Friday 10th July, 19:30)

Over 200 school children from the area will fill the Cathedral’s nave with catchy songs and entertaining lyrics, charting the course of Magna Carta from King John’s time to the present day. Tickets: £2.50 children, £5 adults available from Easter from 01722 320333.

Southern Cathedrals Festival (Wednesday 15 – Saturday 18 July)
Three days of captivating music exploring the themes of Magna Carta, performed by the choirs of Salisbury, Chichester and Winchester Cathedrals.Tickets: from £15 from 01722 320333 from 11 May onwards.


The Globe Theatre perform Shakespeare’s ‘King John’ (27th – 30th May 19:00)
A tale of social upheaval, war and family feuding. Part of the Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival. Tickets from £15 from 0845 2419651 and online at

Salisbury Playhouse Stage ’65 Youth Theatre (20th-21st June, 19:00 and 20:00)
Experience this new play by Olivier-nominated Hattie Naylor, exploring how the themes of Magna Carta are relevant to young people today and staged as a promenade event in the Cathedral. Tickets £12 available from 01722 320333 or online at

The Magna Carta Plays (Thursday 22 October – Saturday 7 November)
A series of short plays specially written by four leading playwrights who have taken their inspiration from the celebrated document. Presented at Salisbury Playhouse, this will be a theatrical event not to be missed.
Tickets available from May 2015 from 01722 320333 or online at


Magna Carta Eucharist (Sunday 14 June, 10.30)
Join us in worship with a newly written setting by the Cathedral’s Director of Music, David Halls.

Pilgrimage walk from Old Sarum to Salisbury Cathedral (Sunday 14 June, 14.00).
See for details

Informal Outdoor Worship (Sunday 14 June, 16.30)
Join us on the Cathedral lawn – all are welcome.


Magna Carta Citizenship Ceremony, Salisbury Cathedral (Tuesday 9th June)
Find out more about our Magna Carta Citizenship Ceremonies by clicking here.

Liberteas Party, (Sunday 14th June, 15.00)
A free tea-party in the Cathedral Close with live music by the Salisbury Concert Band

Cathedral Open Day (Monday 15th June, 13.00 – 22.00)
Join our free activities celebrating this anniversary.

Magna Carta Celebration (Monday 15 June, 19.00)
An evening of performance and spectacle in the Close in partnership with Wiltshire Council. At a Magna Carta Pageant in the evening, dignitaries will seal a new Magna Carta for Wiltshire in 21st Century. For details visit


Calligraphy Workshops
Free, with a calligraphy exhibition.
11 April, 6 June, 20 June and 25 July. All sessions run between 11 – 12, and 14:00 – 15:30.

Spotlight talks on our Library and Archive
Free – all ages welcome.
13 April, 9 June 11.00–11.30 and 6 August, 11 September 14.30 – 15.00

Magna Carta Madness: Family Holiday Activities
Free, drop-in sessions, adults should stay. Plus free Magna Carta Treasure Hunt in the Cathedral from 20 July – 31 August.
7,8,9th April; 27th May; 29th July; 5, 12, 19, 26th August
All sessions run between 10 – 12, and 13:30 – 15:30

Discovery Workshops: ‘Quills, Sheep, and Artefacts.’
Free, have-a-go drop-in sessions for all ages.
Various dates – visit for details.


All lectures will take place in Salisbury Cathedral.

Friday 20th February (19:30)
Archbishop Langton in a Circle of New Ideas, Professor Lesley Smith. In partnership with Sarum College. Tickets £7 from [email protected], or tel: 01722 424800. Optional seminars priced at £10, visit for details.

Friday 6th March (19:00)
Making the Magna Carta We Want: the Unintended Meanings of an Icon, Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum. Tickets £7.

Thursday 12th March (19:00)
Magna Carta and Human Rights Today, Dominic Grieve MP.
Free – email [email protected] to reserve a place. Amnesty International collection.

Friday 27th March (19.30)
Magna Carta: Charter for our Times or Antiquarian Icon? Revd. Robin Griffith-Jones, Master of the Temple. In partnership with Sarum College. Tickets £7 from [email protected], or tel: 01722 424800. Optional seminars priced at £10, visit for details.

Friday 24th April (19.30)
Magna Carta and the Common People, Professor Chris Dyer. In partnership with Sarum College. Tickets £7 from [email protected], or tel: 01722 424800. Optional seminars priced at £10, visit for details.

Friday 15th May (19.30)
Magna Carta: The Salisbury Connection, Professor Nicholas Vincent. Tickets £7.

Sunday 7th June (18.00)
Magna Carta’s American Adventure, Professor A.E Dick Howard. Tickets £7.

Thursday 18th June (19.30)
Magna Carta and the Law, Lord (Igor) Judge. Tickets £7.

Salisbury City

‘Liberty, Justice and Power in Salisbury’
Fascinating 90 minute walks in the city – immerse yourself in tales of conquest, conflict and the quest for freedom in Salisbury across the ages. Tickets £6 from Salisbury Information Centre. Call 01722 342860 to book or visit

25th April – 23rd & 30th May – 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th June – 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th July – 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th August – 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th September. Saturdays at 14:00.

The Barons Charter Trail

Follow a trail of modern sculptures of barons painted by local artists and placed throughout the city. A partnership project with The Trussell Trust. Visit for more information.

Arts and Crafts

Salisbury Contemporary Craft and Heritage Festival
Saturday 5th – Sunday 6th September. 80+ contemporary craft makers and designers showcase their crafts plus practical workshops, interactive demonstrations and talks by a range of heritage experts on the West Lawn.

Magna Flora Flower Festival
Tuesday 15th – Sunday 20th September

See the spectacular work of over 500 flower arrangers with the smell and sight of many thousands of blooms in a mix of contemporary, traditional and interpretative displays inspired by Magna Carta. Daily demonstrations.

Tickets: £11 Adults, £5.00 Children, £25 Family, available online and on the door. For discounts for groups of 20+ call 01722 555 120.

Further Information:

For further information about events in Salisbury & Salisbury Cathedral, please contact:

For images or for further information please call 01722 555118
Salisbury Cathedral
Wyndham House
65 The Close

Check our website for details:

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Today is the very anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta, that great charter which laid down the basis for English common law, now spread throughout the world. Magna Carta gave protection of law against despotism by...

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