Hundreds gather at Broughton Castle to mark Magna Carta anniversary

Anton Lesser. Credit: Stu Allsopp.
Anton Lesser. Credit: Stu Allsopp.

Two hundred guests were joined by Wolf Hall star Anton Lesser at Broughton Castle to celebrate 800 years since the signing of the Magna Carta.

Organised by Banbury Museum and the Banbury Historical Society, the event sold out weeks in advance with guests thronging the Great Hall for a talk on the key l document.

Almost 200 people gathered at Broughton Castle. Credit: Stu Allsopp

Almost 200 people gathered at Broughton Castle. Credit: Stu Allsopp

David Carpenter, Professor of Medieval History at King’s College London, drew from new discoveries to give a fresh account of the Great Charter showing how it quickly gained a central place in English political life, and Sir Robert M. Worcester, chairman, Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Committee described how the Magna Carta has inspired him and its relevance today.

The event also invited Brailes actor Anton Lesser to contribute with a few readings. This was his second visit to the castle having recently played the part of Thomas More in the BBC’s Wolf Hall.

Brailes resident and anniversary committee member Susan Walker came up with the original concept of an event at Broughton Castle. She said: “There are many events throughout the year to celebrate the Great Charter but this one had special significance. To see the Saye colours flying from the castle mast as it must have done in the fields of Runnymede 800 years ago was truly a memorable and moving moment”.

Broughton Castle is the home of the descendants of Baron Geoffrey de Saye;one of the 25 barons who forced the reluctant King John to seal the Magna Carta on 15 June 1215.

Simon Townsend, director of Banbury Museum and Secretary of the Banbury Historical Society, said: “It was an occasion we will all remember, Broughton Castle and the gardens glowing in the evening sun, the perfect backdrop to fascinating lectures on Magna Carta. The success of the evening can be attributed to great partnership working, Banbury Museum working with Susan Walker, Broughton Castle and the Banbury Historical Society”.