<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

Why Cartmel will be celebrating the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta

PUBLISHED: 16:01 12 June 2015 | UPDATED: 20:48 19 April 2016

Knights will fight it out in a medieval tournee in Cartmel

Knights will fight it out in a medieval tournee in Cartmel

© Roger Bamber / Alamy

Cartmel is famous for sticky toffee pudding and for having one of the country’s most beautiful racecourses but few people connect it with one of the great moment in our history - the signing of Magna Carta.

A sign in the priory marking the founding by William Marshal A sign in the priory marking the founding by William Marshal

That connection will be celebrated later this year, though, when the village hosts five days of celebrations and festivities in and around the ancient priory to mark the moment 800 years ago when the principles of freedom, justice and democracy were enshrined in our laws.

The Cartmel connection involves one particular character from the village’s medieval past - a man who was a superbly able legislator who helped establish the rule of law in the kingdom. He was William Marshal, the 4th Earl of Pembroke, the founder of the Priory of Cartmel.

William was knighted in 1166 during a campaign in Upper Normandy. By 1185 he had won significant favour at court through his skill at arms and, in recognition of his service, he was given the large Royal Estate of Cartmel by King Henry II. It consisted of some 28,747 acres of Lancashire and involved custody of Heloise of Lancaster. She was one of the king’s wards, heiress to the barony of Kendal, with extensive lands in Lancashire and Westmorland. The king expected Marshal to marry her but it appeared the ambitious William had other ideas.

Towards the end of Henry II’s reign in 1189, Marshal was involved in one of the most important moments of his life. During yet another rebellion by the king’s sons, William was helping Henry retreat to safety and in doing so charged at the heir to the throne, Richard Coeur de Lion, killing his horse from under him. Attacking the king’s son and heir to the throne might not have seemed a good career move.

The lovely santuary inside the priory The lovely santuary inside the priory

However, when Henry died and the new king, Richard I, confronted William about the incident, Marshal replied that he had not intended to kill Richard and had struck precisely where he meant to. Fortunately the king accepted the story and allowed Marshal to marry Isabel de Clare, Countess of Pembroke and Striguil instantly elevating him from knight to one of the richest men in the western world.

William invited monks from Bradenstoke Priory, Wiltshire, to found an Augustinian house, on his lands in Cartmel, which they commenced building almost immediately. William declared that he had founded Cartmel ‘for the widening of the field of the holy religion’ and ‘for the soul of the Lord King Henry II, and for the soul of the Young King Henry my lord, and for the soul of King Richard; for my soul and soul of my wife Isabel, and those of my ancestors and successors and our heirs.’

After the death of Richard I, William served his brother King John. Despite open hostilities between the king and his barons, William managed to remained in favour with both camps, which ultimately meant he was one of the leading mediators, smoothing the way to the sealing of Magna Carta on June 15, 1215 at Runnymede.

When he was laid to rest in London’s Temple Church on May 20, 1219 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton, reportedly described this celebrated veteran of countless wars as ‘the greatest knight in the world’.

Carvings inside the building Carvings inside the building

Without him there would have been no priory at Cartmel and sadly, he never did see its completion.

To mark the connections between Cartmel, William Marshal and Magna Carta, the priory will play host to five days of festivities this September from the 25th to the 29th.

During the celebrations there will be a spectacular ‘Flower Pageant’ – a display of flower artistry designed to illustrate the influence of Magna Carta. There will also be a range of other events including a living medieval encampment from 1215, on the Saturday and Sunday, featuring knights in armour staging a tournée and fayre. On Saturday, Sunday and Monday evenings there will be son et lumière and firework displays, plus a programme of concerts throughout. w

The beautiful exterior of the priory The beautiful exterior of the priory

For more information and to book tickets, go online to cartmelpriory.org.uk to find out about where to stay and other events happening in the area, visit golakes.co.uk


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Lancashire Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Lancashire Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Lancashire Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Friday, November 17, 2017

This remarkable garden can whisk you on a horticulture tour of the world. Linda Viney took a trip

Read more
Monday, November 13, 2017

A fantastic end to 2017 is in store at the annual equestrian event in the centre of Liverpool.

Read more
Monday, November 13, 2017

John Lenehan heads for Gisburn to walk by the Ribble and sample the delights of the Auction Mart Cafe.

Read more
Monday, November 13, 2017

This busy community might sometimes feel like the village that time forgot, but it’s full of people who help themselves. Martin Pilkington reports

Read more
Monday, November 6, 2017

Follow our short guide to a festive trip to Lytham this Christmas.

Read more
Monday, November 6, 2017

Windermere is dependent on tourism, but when the holidaymakers have left there remains a thriving village community

Read more
Monday, November 6, 2017

The 218th Westmorland County Show welcomed HRH The Prince of Wales

Read more
Thursday, November 2, 2017

Is it a helicopter? Is it a plane? It’s neither. Or maybe both. Paul Mackenzie meets a man offering a unique bird’s eye view of the Lake District.

Read more
Lake District

It may only be a small town, but these home grown products are causing a big stir

Read more
Wednesday, October 25, 2017

While conservation work is important globally, The Lancashire Wildlife Trust is stressing the need to think locally too. Alan Wright discusses the important of wildlife close to home.

Read more
Lancashire Wildlife
Monday, October 23, 2017

There are many reasons why the Forest of Bowland is designated Area of Natural Beauty, we’ve picked our favourite spots that we think you will love too.

Read more
Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The ‘Rural Oscars’ Are Back

Read more
Monday, October 16, 2017

It may not be the Serengeti but the stunning countryside around Nicky Nook will make a perfect location for eco-holidays. Roger Borrell reports.

Read more
Bowland Scorton
Saturday, October 14, 2017

Volunteers are restoring a lovely Victorian garden just a short stroll from a busy city centre. Linda Viney reports

Read more
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Subscribe or buy a mag today

Lancashire Life Application Link

Local Business Directory

Lancashire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Property Search