Pontefract Castle hosts events to mark Magna Carta signing

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Falconry displays, archery and morris dancing will be on offer at an event marking Pontefract’s links with the signing of the Magna Carta.

Visitors can take part in free activities at Pontefract Castle from 11am to 4pm on Saturday to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the signing of the historic charter.

Experts will lead sessions on how the castle was built and there will be morris dancing, displays from a traditional blacksmith, archery demonstrations, medieval tile making, and various stalls.

Coun Les Shaw, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “It’s going to be a great day commemorating our local link to one of the more important documents in British legal history.”

The Magna Carta was the first document imposed on a King of England by group of his barons in an attempt to limit his powers and protect their laws. One of the barons involved in getting the charter signed was John de Lacy, then the lord of Pontefract Castle.

On Saturday Heartbreak Productions will perform Jane Austen’s Emma in the castle grounds from 7pm.

A copy of the original Magna Carta will be on show this weekend at Pontefract Library.

The planned events at Pontefract Castle follow a week of activities organised by the town’s Magna Carta Group.

Yorkshire Volunteers Brass section performed at the King’s Croft Hotel on Wednesday and a black tie dinner took place at the hotel on Friday, where artwork by Ackworth and East Hardwick Embroidery Guild was unveiled by West Yorkshire High Sheriff Ed Anderson.

A special service was held at St Giles’ Church on Sunday to commemorate the charter’s milestone and a tea and cake sale afterwards raised £127 for Pontefract Hospice.