Our exhibition in the Round Church, Magna Carta 1215-2015, is perfectly placed: in one of the few surviving buildings that featured in the formation of Magna Carta, the King’s London headquarters, setting for fraught negotiations in 1214-15, and burial place of William Marshal I, the hero of Magna Carta, and of his son William Marshal II, one of the 25 Surety Barons at Runnymede. Their effigies still lie side-by-side.
On loan to the exhibition are four 19th century plaster casts of medieval monuments, lent by the Victoria & Albert Museum, representing the Charter’s protagonists: William Marshal I and II (our own effigies, whose casts were taken before the damage suffered in the Blitz), King John (Worcester Cathedral) and King Henry III (Westminster Abbey). The Palace of Westminster has lent us the spectacular statues of two of the Charter’s Surety Barons (1840s), from the Chamber of the House of Lords, a programmatic statement of peers’ duty, through all subsequent centuries, both to serve the Sovereign and to protect the citizens from any usurpation by the Sovereign’s government of over-reaching power.
The exhibition traces the long and often contested path from 1215 to the present day, from the enforceable rights and constraints first confirmed at Runnymede through to the liberties and rights enjoyed throughout the Common Law world today. For further history on the Church and Magna Carta, click here.
There is no extra charge for admission to the exhibition.