The magnificent floral finale to the Cathedral’s year-long celebrations marking the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta has finally arrived!
Over 500 hundred flower arrangers travelled from the edges of Dartmoor, the far west of Hampshire, from Highworth in the north to Weymouth in the south to help create the stunning Magna Flora display. Drawn from churches and colleges from within the Diocese, flower clubs from the South West and the Wessex, Dorset, Jersey and Guernsey Areas of the National Association of Floral Arrangement Societies, the festival is one of the Cathedral’s largest outreach projects this year. Each contributor has made their own mark, with hundreds of individual designs exploring Magna Carta values and characters!
The world famous Magna Carta clause ‘to no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice’ lies at the heart of the festival, however designers Michael Bowyer, Angela Turner and Pam Lewis have referenced others, carefully choosing those clauses which lend themselves to plant material: ‘the English Church shall be free’, ‘no woman will be compelled to marry’, ‘there shall be equal measures of ale, wine and corn throughout the Kingdom’. In response to a special request from the Canon Chancellor ‘all fish-weirs shall be removed throughout the whole of England’ was also highlighted!
Amongst the breathtaking displays are tableaux depicting the major Magna Carta players: King John, the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the 25 barons who witnessed the sealing of the document at Runnymede. In the South Transept visitors can walk through an installation made from hundreds of yards garlanded hay, formed into gigantic horsehoe-shapes that glow with deep autumnal reds. There are also displays marking the 70th anniversary of the ending of World War Two and celebrating Her Majesty the Queen as the longest serving monarch
Work on the large scale floral collages began in March. The Giant ‘Lampshades’, now covered with vibrant orange material from which a cascade of 10,000 physalis heads hang, were forged over the Summer by Pam Lewis (one of the designers) and her family.
Cutting-edge floral design can be viewed in the North Quire Aisle with designs containing just one type of flower. The North Transept becomes a performance area where each day the designers will give live floral demonstrations to a programme of live music devised by David Halls and the display in the Cloisters is a celebration of harvest, perfect for this time of year.
Browse our image and video gallery here!
So please come and view the Great Charter and the Great Flowers – great in every sense of the word!
Tickets: £11 adults, £5 children 4+, £25 families (2+3)