February 26, 2014
Magna Carta Lecture, Houston Museum of Natural Sciences, Wednesday 19th February 2014
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. First, may I thank you for the warmth of your welcome this evening and, on behalf of Jane and me, the wonderful welcome to Houston and to Texas that we have experienced.
We were warned that “big” would be a word that occurred often to us while we were here, and it certainly applies to the way you make your visitors feel completely at home. This is our first visit to Texas, but rest assured that it will not be our last.
For some three years I had the great privilege of chairing the Hereford Cathedral Perpetual Trust, helping to raise funds for the fabric of that unique and magical building, for its wonderful, world-class choral music, and for the legacy of its artefacts across the centuries, the way in which they can speak to us today, and educate and inform future generations.
Now so many of you, by your generosity, and by your presence here this evening, are sharing in that great work. We feel that you have become members of the Hereford Cathedral family, just as we feel we have become members of the family of this amazing institution, and of the great State of Texas.
Now I must start with a confession. I am not a professional mediaeval historian, and I am not going to give you a detailed analysis of the political shenanigans which led to the sealing of Magna Carta nearly 800 years ago. Actually, of course, you might be quite glad of that!
But as the Clerk of the British House of Commons I think that I have rather a special perspective on the extraordinary event which was Magna Carta, and how it speaks to us across the centuries.
To download the full speech, please click the following link: Magna Carta Lecture Houston 19.2.14