800 years of Magna Carta

My local city, Salisbury, is home to one of the surviving copies of the Magna Carta – the document King John was forced to seal, handing powers to barons – the forerunner of our parliamentary system. 800 years on, after the monarch ceded powers to some high ranking men, the event is deemed worthy of commemoration.

These celebrations in Salisbury, but encompassing all of Wiltshire, were quirky and amusing. The basic idea was that 18 barons, representing different areas of Wiltshire, would process through Salisbury with many supporters. The barons were huge puppets with a person inside often able to control the hands and the direction the baron faced.

But there was added street entertainment and some of that was provided by the band my wife plays in.


You can hear them playing by clicking here.

I did my best to count the audience at one point and I’m sure it was 1000 plus listeners.

As the time for the barons’ procession drew near, people started lining the streets.


And then barons appeared.


The barons towered over the crowds – but not over all of their supporters.


A ‘three wheeled’ unicyclist gained a bit of height as did a stilt walker.


The Stonehenge baron looked to be something of a hippy.


Barons filed past.



Wiltshire is, of course, famed for white horses.


More barons



Wiltshire apples.




The procession and following crowd made their way to the cathedral.


White Horse Morris entertained.

It is estimated that a quarter of a million people were around the cathedral.



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