The Lord Mayor’s Reception

An historic event took place at London’s Mansion House, the home of the Lord Mayor, when the City Corporation invited representatives of all the villages and towns forming the Magna Carta Barons Association to a lunchtime reception to mark the 800th anniversary of the entry of the baronial army into London on 17 May 1215.

Over two hundred people from the twenty-two villages and towns where the barons originally had their chief manors travelled to London to attend the event. They were joined by members of the City Corporation and other key stakeholders who have been planning many other events across the country to mark the anniversary of Magna Carta.

The Lord Mayor, Cllr Alan Yarrow, welcomed our members to Mansion House, pointing out that this was the second time in 800 years we were meeting together (Lord Mayors speech)! He was followed by Sir Peter Soulsby, the newly re-elected Mayor of Leicester, who spoke on behalf of the Magna Carta Barons Association and its villages and towns (Mayor of Leicesters speech). Professor Nicholas Vincent from the University of East Anglia and its Magna Carta Project told us what really happened on Sunday 17 May eight hundred years earlier, and then the Vice Principal of the City’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama introduced a performance of short excerpts from John Arden’s play, ‘Left Handed Liberty’, commissioned by the City for the 750th Anniversary in 1965.

The reception was a memorable event marking many months of preparations by our villages and towns to celebrate Magna Carta in June. As a way to capture the significance of our meeting in the City, Peter Sinclair, the chairman of the Magna Carta Barons Association, had prepared a ‘memorial’ to be signed by its key representatives. This reproduced all the barons’ arms as authenticated by Thomas Woodcock, Garter Principal King of Arms, as well as the City’s arms which were certainly in use before 1235, if not in 1215. The memorial will be copied later and distributed to each of the Association members as a special memento of the occasion.

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