Sunday 4 August 2013

St Albans Magna Carta Festival

We are so lucky to live where we do, and sometimes we forget that fact.  There is just so much to see and do and we are within easy reach of many historical areas. 

St Albans is one such place, a beautiful English Cathedral City, it has been home to the Romans and has several sites of interest with Roman remains such as the wall, an amphitheatre and baths.  There is a lot of beautiful medieval architecture and of course lovely parks.

We came to St Albans today as this summer it is commemorating the 800th anniversary of the city's role in the story of the Magna Carta.  On this day, 4th August, 1213, the churchmen and barons, led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton, held their first meeting in St Albans Abbey to discuss their grievances against King John.  It was this meeting that eventually led tot he articles that eventually became Magna Carta in 1215.  This Magna Carta was sealed at Runnymede by King John on 15th June, 1215.

We walk up to St Albans Cathedral hoping that we will be able to get tickets to view this historical document that sets out the basic rights and freedoms of common people, including the right to trial by jury.  Of course it also provided for regulation of the power of the monarchy, which had basically 'run amok' for some time previous to this!

Fortunately we were able to get tickets and we didn't have to queue for too long...

Ryder and I read all about the Monarchy of the time.

We study the timeline of events that led to the Magna Carta 

These baronial shields really interested us, we quite fancy making a shield for ourselves....I wonder if we will get a chance to make one this week?

We learn about how they prepared animal skins to make the parchment to write on

This was pretty cool, we got to put the King's Seal on our tickets!

Ryder does his first.

I then have a go and do mine.

Good fun!

We got to meet this chappy... can't remember his name, but he said it 'was a first for him!'  Not sure what he meant by that.  Perhaps meeting someone famous like me?  I told him that Ryder was on holiday from the USA and I had travelled to six different countries all over the world!

We did some contemplating in the Cathedral before venturing outside to where all the outdoor festivities were taking place.

There was an historical encampment with lots of activities and displays going on.

It was interesting to see these places where medieval people would have stayed.

We venture in for a closer look.

Amazed at how simply they lived.  No fancy appliances in  those days!

This lady was busy carding wool.

A little later Ryder and I joined them to learn about their lifestyle and clothing.

We weren't sure what the little person was doing... they seemed very occupied with their foot for some reason.

This man was preparing arrows.

We watched how a Medieval knight would have been dressed ready for battle

So many layers!  It all must have felt very heavy.

It was was explained how everything had to fit exactly in order to protect the person and so that things didn't slip or move - for example they said that if the helmet didn't fit correctly it could lead to disaster as if it moved the knight wouldn't be able to see where he was going or who he was fighting.

Ready for battle.

He looked quite fierce!

We watched them on their horses.

This horse was in training and was quite frisky and bucked a few times.

Aiming for the target - he just missed as it skimmed over the top.

I wonder if Stratford will let me ride him like this?

This time he hit the target.

Slicing an apple in half!

Some more knights and some peasants just waiting around.

What a fun day out we had indeed.


  1. very interesting story... and beautiful pics...I nice.that people.keep alive.history..

  2. I tried to post a comment yesterday, but it disappeared into the ether!
    Henry and Ryder it looks like you had a really interesting visit to St Albans. I'm sure we saw this re-enactment group in Northumberland a few years ago, they travel all over the place. We've also seen a group to specialise in Roman times, really fascinating.
    Cool to get the Kings seal!

  3. Awesome photos of a wonderful historic site. Love seeing Henry and Ryder with the King's seal, the excellent fellow holding them both has a great expression, the interesting encampment area, and the battle preparation scenes are wonderful, especially the horses. Thank you for sharing. :)

  4. Looks like you had a great and interesting time in St Albans, boys! And looks like the weather stayed nice for you too! I'm sure Ryder is having a great time on holiday in the UK!