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Magna Carta and Jay Z

In July 2013, Salisbury Cathedral’s Chapter House, home to its original copy of Magna Carta 1215, was the location for the global launch of the artwork for Jay Z’s album Magna Carta… Holy Grail. The album was inspired by the ideals of Magna Carta with its famous words “To no one will We Sell, to no one will We deny or delay, right or justice”, and Jay Z’s personal conviction that these remain relevant in the modern day.

The Dean of Salisbury, the Very Revd June Osborne, said “We are delighted that Jay Z has chosen Salisbury Cathedral, home to the finest of the four surviving original 1215 Magna Carta, as the location for the global premiere of his artwork for Magna Carta... Holy Grail. We know how important Magna Carta, and all it represents, is to people across the globe. The ideals it embodies are still relevant today. Jay Z, through his album, is creating a huge awareness of this historic document and its modern significance to a huge audience in the run up to its 800th anniversary in 2015. We hope to welcome many of his fans here this summer to see the artwork in the Chapter House alongside our Magna Carta.”


Soon after, Jay Z paid a private visit to the Cathedral to view the Magna Carta, before returning to London to headline the Wireless Festival alongside Justin Timberlake. He arrived in a classic Aston Martin and was spotted by hundreds of cathedral visitors, posing for pictures as he toured the Chapter House and Cathedral. The Very Revd June Osborne said: "It was great to welcome Jay Z to Salisbury Cathedral. He was clearly moved by seeing the original Magna Carta. He was a delightful guest and we discussed the work we seek to do here to further the cause of social justice. I think it may have surprised some of our visitors."

A source close to Jay Z said: “Jay was genuinely touched to see his album near to the real-life Magna Carta in the chapter house. He took the occasion seriously and felt honoured to be there.”