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William the Marshal founded Cartmel Priory in 1189, 26 years later his power, authority and the respect afforded him by his fellow Barons enabled him to play a significant role in the sealing then resurrection of Magna Carta.

Our celebrations begin in June with a David Starkey lecture on Magna Carta and the presentation of the winning entry’s in the Magna Carta Young Writer’s Poetry Competition. They will be encrypted on disc and the overall winning poem set to music by the Priory’s organist and composer Adrian Self. A schools’ Democracy Day generating a legacy of Magna Carta school age resource materials and a second historical lecture by Dr Alan Crosby will pave the way to our main five day celebrations in September.

Historical Pageant of Flowers and the Arts’ in Cartmel Priory from 25th to 29th September.

With the support and involvement of the village community, the celebrations on weekend days are enhanced with a ‘living history Medieval Tourney and Fayre’, and a ‘Son et Lumière’ featuring the Priory’s founder. Increased visitor provision on the 28th September comes from a further Magna Carta lecture and, illustrating Magna Carta’s influence through the centuries, Talks & Tours of the village provided by the Local History Society. Three varied Concerts and two special Festival Services, one a celebration of ‘The Law and Justice’, lead by the Organist and Choir of Cartmel Priory with guest preacher Bishop James of Carlisle and the other a ‘Songs of Praise’ lead by Levens Choir fill the Festival evenings. The concert programme features leading national early music instrumental group ‘La Serenissima’ and also performances by local award winning musicians, ‘Amabile’ girls’ choir and Flookburgh Band whose concert will conclude with a firework display. For details and tickets please see

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