Lincolnshire and Magna Carta celebrated in 800 book

trish burgess
trish burgess
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TRISH TAKES FIVE: By Trish Burgess

The 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta in 1215 was celebrated across the world last year and, in Lincoln, where one of only four original copies of the document is held, this was particularly significant.

There were a number of events in the county to mark the anniversary and one was the publication of a unique book celebrating the impact of Magna Carta on modern society. The hardback book, ‘800’, explores, through the voices of Lincolnshire residents, how the medieval document still plays a vital part in shaping the values we hold sacred today.

It also includes the first published versions of specially commissioned works from UK Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Welsh National Poet Gillian Clarke and the holder of the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry Imtiaz Dharker. The poems were first read to an audience at the official opening of Lincoln Castle by Princess Anne last June. All three poets have signed each copy of the book.

Their work was part of the Poets Laureate Lincolnshire Landscape programme which questions the past and how it has impacted on the lives of Lincolnshire people in 2015. This programme tied in seamlessly with the events of Festival 800 last summer in Lincoln.

I decided to order a copy of the book to have my own memento of the anniversary. Artistic directors and executive producers of the project, Lincoln-based Cultural Solutions UK, have produced 1215 copies, with 800 being sent to Lincolnshire’s schools and libraries, the Commonwealth heads of state, the British Library, Runnymede, Salisbury Cathedral and world leaders. That leaves only 415 copies available to the public, making it a collector’s item, especially with the poets’ genuine signatures.

The 60 page book only costs £8 with £2 for postage. Receiving it in the post a few days ago, I felt as if I were holding a printed version of a time capsule: something that represents our county as it is today. The poems are the jewels in this printed crown but the thoughts and opinions of Lincolnshire residents, including police cadets from Boston and pupils from local primary schools, certainly earn their place in the publication.

Mention should also be made of the poem by 17 year old Peter Latimer, Lincolnshire Young Poet Laureate. Peter has taken on this role, which was created as part of the Poets Laureate programme, and must be justifiably proud of ‘Divide’, the piece he has written to commemorate this important anniversary.

It’s not too late to order your own copy of this limited edition book as there are still a few available. They can be ordered online at

Follow Trish on Twitter via @mumsgoneto and read her blog at


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