Wiltshire Publications

Westbury joins in Magna Carta celebrations

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PUPILS from schools across Westbury joined forces with the town council to take part in a parade in Salisbury to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta this week.

Westbury’ s part of the procession featured Matravers pupils from Year Seven who have been studying King John as part of their Medieval Monarchs history lessons.

They carried shields painted in medieval style by pupils of Westbury Junior School who have been studying the Magna Carta. Also on the procession were the Air Cadets from the 68 Westbury Squadron, members of the area board and community area partnership plus mayor David Bradshaw. Scrolls containing a ‘White Horse News Magna Carta special edition’ were also  given out.

Bratton Community Orchard was represented with Wiltshire apple trees and wicker baskets of apples which were given to the crowds as the procession passed through.

Community area manager Sally Hendry dressed in medieval costume along with Carole King, chairman of the community area partnership helped guide the giant baron through the city streets.

Sally said, “We have had lots of help from the community with everything from painting our baron to designing our lovely banner – and great support from the White Horse News with their special Magna Carta front page. It certainly put Westbury on the map and we hope to use the giant puppet and the banner for future events in the town.”

Monday’s pageant threaded through the city streets to the cathedral for a commemorative ceremony and pyrotechnic display.

The celebrations  took place eight centuries to the day since King John met the group of rebel barons at Runnymede and consented to a series of promises for new civic liberties ranging from the protection of church rights to access to swift and fair justice.

The spirits of the barons were reborn in the guise of a series of larger-than-life puppets, which were paraded through the city from the Market Square to the Cathedral, which itself plays host to the most intact copy of the Magna Carta in existence. Each of the barons led delegation from communities across Wiltshire, with around 350 people taking part in the parade.