Neil MacGregor delivers first 2015 Magna Carta lecture at Salisbury Cathedral


Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum and author of The History of the World in 100 Objects, is delivering the first lecture in Salisbury Cathedral’s 2015 Magna Carta Lecture series this Friday, 6 March, when he is also formally opening the Cathedral’s new Magna Carta Exhibition.

Macgregor’s lecture, entitled ‘Making the Magna Carta We Want: The Unintended Meanings of an Icon in Salisbury Cathedral’, will consider how Magna Carta has been adopted and used beyond its original intentions in the centuries since it was agreed and sealed.

Both the lecture and the Cathedral’s permanent exhibition, Magna Carta: Spirit of Justice Power of Words, are part of its 800th Anniversary Magna Carta celebrations. During the formal exhibition opening, Macgregor will cut a large (20”) cake in the shaped of King John’s Seal.

Neil MacGregor said: “Magna Carta is not just a constitutional document: it has become in its own way an institution. And like all institutions it has been constantly reinvented. Every generation has found what it needs for its own particular time in the words of Magna Carta and the circumstances of its signing. In this sense it is truly an icon – a window on to a world of imagined perfection and an object on to which we project our needs and our wishes. What do we want Magna Carta to do for us today?”

The Very Reverend June Osborne, Dean of Salisbury, who is chairing the event said: “In his ‘History of the World in 100 Objects’ Neil MacGregor examined many important ideas through the prism of his selected cultural icons. This lecture brings that same scrutiny to bear on Salisbury’s Magna Carta, exploring its capacity to bring individuals from across the world together to share and discuss the historical and judicial forces that have shaped our world.”

Doors will open for the lecture at 18.30 on 6 March and the event will begin at 19.30.

Entry is via the North Porch and there will be a returning collection in aid of the Cathedral’s Major Repair Programme.

For those who also wish to attend Evensong, the service will start at 17.30 and finish at 18.15. All are welcome