Magna Flora – Magna Carta 800’s Crowning Glory


Salisbury Cathedral’s Magna Carta Celebrations reach a floral crescendo with up to 500 flower arrangers and an expected 20,000 visitors creating a grand scale flower festival themed around Magna Carta.

Amongst the astounding floral art works visitors will encounter are a series of giant, 6ft x 3ft fantasy flowers and an ambitious central display, which runs the full length of the nave, depicting the country ‘in chaos’ before Magna Carta on one side and ‘in order’ on the other.

In the North Aisle, 25 panels of flowers, each 12ft high, feature every Baron present at the sealing of the Magna Carta with each shown bearing his distinctive shield. There are also depictions of Bad King John, His Mother and his Wife – and Queen Elizabeth II!

In the St Laurence Chapel a unique Magna Carta 800 Committee funded project overseen by Director of Learning and Outreach, Sarah Rickett, is on display surrounded by gigantic flowers made the education team and supported by a range of floral displays.

The project, Flowers of Freedom, shows individual ‘flowers’ selected, draw and written about by Commonwealth children to illustrate their country and their experience of freedom and justice. Over 20 schools submitted their ‘flowers’ along with the reasons behind their choices. These are children from war torn homelands with firsthand experience of the values enshrined in Magna Carta, either through the absence of them (independence, freedom, human rights) or the achievement of them.

Some of their submissions are very moving.

Michael Bowyer MBE, Creative Director of Salisbury Cathedral Flowers: “This year’s festival is the biggest yet. Big in ambition and big in form. It’s not called Magna Flora for nothing! The values and history that we are trying to express are huge both in impact and legacy so we have had to find structures and forms that speak to that.

“The planning has been on-going for about a year and for the last two months we have been running workshops with flower arranging clubs all over the country, creating the basic infrastructure for the exhibits. One of my co-designers, Pam Lewis, is a blacksmith and has forged a series of huge arches that will be set up in the South Transept for visitors to walk through.

“Three designers – myself, Pam Lewis and Angela Turner – did the initial paper planning and came up with the key concepts. It’s the third festival we have done together in Salisbury so we know and respect each other’s styles and strengths.”

The flower arrangers are being co-ordinated by Susan Branch, the administrator of Salisbury Cathedral Flowers, who’s helped to pull together teams from church groups, colleges, clubs and local flower arranging societies. One group is even coming from the Channel Islands.

View photos of Magna Flora


Magna Flora runs from 15 – 20 September.
Tues- Sat 10.00 – 17.00, last entry 4pm

Sunday 12.00 – 16.00, last entry 3pm

Late night opening Thursday 17 September 2015 18.30-21.30 session, last admission will be 19.30

North Transept Demonstrations with music take place at 11.30, 14.30 and on Thursday (when the Festival is open late) at 20.00

Tickets: £11 adults – £5 children – £25 Families (2+3) and groups (over 10) £9

Bookings: Email Groups@ Salisbury Cathedral website or contact Hannah Paye on 01722

555120. Alternatively book via the Salisbury Playhouse on 320 333or online via the Salisbury Cathedral website.