This year sees the 800th anniversary of King John’s Magna Carta. Across the UK there are exhibitions, parties and pageants celebrating this iconic document, including the British Library’s Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy, which opened in March to great acclaim. King’s History Department has played a major part in the commemorations, with Professor David Carpenter a co-investigator on the AHRC-funded Magna Carta Project, advisor to the British Library’s exhibition and author of a magisterial new book on the Charter, published by Penguin Classics. Along the way David and other members of the Magna Carta Project have made some momentous discoveries, which have hit the headlines across the world and put this 800 year old document in a new light. These revelations – and much other new research – will be showcased in a major conference, held at King’s and the British Library 17-19 June.
Historians from King’s (David Carpenter, Anne Duggan, Jinty Nelson, Alice Taylor) will be joined by scholars from across the UK, France and the USA to reveal the world of Magna Carta in unparalleled breadth and depth (you can view the whole conference programme on the Magna Carta Project website); from the Charter’s background and later use to its place in medieval law; from propaganda and political ideas in King John’s reign to kingship in medieval literature; from John’s military campaigns to the scribes of his court; and from the Charter’s continental and British context to its impact on society.
There will also be a reception at the Maughan Library (spaces are limited, so book now to avoid disappointment!), where the J. C. Holt Undergraduate Essay Prize will be awarded by Melvyn Bragg, and a rare opportunity to enjoy a private viewing of the British Library’s Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy exhibition, introduced by lead curator Claire Breay. Those attending day three of the conference are also being offered free entry to the British Library’s Early European Parallels to Magna Carta evening event (again, spaces are limited so book now to be sure of a place).
You can read more about The Magna Carta Conference, and book your ticket, on the Magna Carta Project website.
Sophie Ambler, Research Associate, The Magna Carta Project, University of East Anglia