Press Releases

12th January 2015 – Braintree District and Magna Carta – 2015 Medieval Programme at Braintree District Museum

2015 sees many celebrations of the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, sealed by King John in June 1215, taking place across the country. This autumn, Braintree District Museum will be offering a diverse programme of exhibitions and events looking at the important local context of the Magna Carta story, and what the local area was like in the late 12th – early 13th Centuries. The Charter is seen as the first proper attempt to limit the power of the King by law, and the foundation of modern democracy and constitutional law.

The central story of Braintree District is the role of Robert de Vere, local baron of Hedingham Castle. Robert was one of the 25 barons who met at Runnymeade to force this ‘Great Charter’ on the King. Castle Hedingham Parish Council has been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund Sharing Heritage grant to celebrate its status as home to one of the Magna Carta Barons, and a key feature of this celebratory programme will be an exhibition looking at Robert de Vere’s and Castle Hedingham’s story in the events surrounding Magna Carta. The Museum is pleased to be putting together the exhibition for the Parish Council which will launch in St Nicholas Church, Castle Hedingham, on 12 June 2015. In addition to the interpretation provided by the museum the exhibition will also feature work by the local school and Heritage and Art Societies, aspects coordinated by the parish council. Following a period in Castle Hedingham the exhibition will transfer to Braintree District Museum where objects, interpretation and interactives looking at Braintree buildings and life in the late 12th and early 13th Century will be added to give a wide-ranging look at the locality in this period of daily toil and political trouble. The resulting combined exhibition ‘Medieval Toil and Trouble: Castle Hedingham – Magna Carta’ will open at the museum on 22 September 2015, closing on 5 January 2016.

To complement the exhibition the Museum is planning a medieval-themed event day during October half term with fun and educational activities for all the family. ‘Knights, Peasants and Medieval Marvels’ will take place on Saturday 24 October 10am – 3pm. Activities already confirmed include a medieval play by the Riotous Assembly and Castle Players of Castle Hedingham and knight-themed family craft workshops. Many more activities will be planned throughout the day, keep an eye on the museum’s website and social media for further details.

The Museum is also holding two talks connected to Castle Hedingham and the Medieval period. On Wednesday 14 October at 3pm local historian Charles Bird will be presenting his new research on the Bingham Pottery of Castle Hedingham, a 19th Century industry partly inspired by the local medieval Hedingham Ware. On Wednesday 25 November at 3pm archaeologist David Andrews will be giving a talk on the Medieval Castles of East Anglia. Tickets for each talk are just £3 and include light refreshments. To book a place please call 01376 328868.

Jo Beavis, Councillor for Hedingham and Maplestead and Cabinet Member for Culture said, ‘The 800thanniversary of Magna Carta offers a great opportunity to highlight the important heritage of Castle Hedingham and the role the de Vere family played in politics for nearly 700 years. The exhibition and event programme will give local people the chance to really imagine what the district was like in 1215 and to celebrate the rich heritage still visible in the buildings and landscape today. It is lovely that Braintree District Museum and Castle Hedingham Parish Council are working in partnership to make this heritage accessible to as many local people as possible’.

‘Medieval Toil and Trouble’ will be open during normal museum opening hours, Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 4pm from 22 September 2015 – 5 January 2016. Normal admission charges will apply (£3 adults, £1.50 concessions, children free). For more information on Museum exhibitions and events please visit our website at or call 01376 328868.

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Notes to editors:

The Castle Hedingham exhibition has been funded by a Heritage Lottery Fund Sharing Heritage Grant.


Sharing Heritage is a not-for-profit group wanting to explore their community’s heritage. With a commitment from HLF of £3m each year, Sharing Heritage grants between £3,000 and £10,000 are available to groups who want to discover their local heritage. Projects range from exploring local archaeology and a community’s cultures and traditions to identifying and recording wildlife and protecting the surrounding environment. Managing and training volunteers and holding festivals and events to commemorate the past are also covered


Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, it invests in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported almost 36,000 projects with £5.9bn across the UK. For more information go to

2nd February 2015 from Castle Hedingham Parish Council – Additional Fund Allocation Confirmed

de-Vere-Hatfield-Broad-oak-300x286The organisers of the Castle Hedingham Community Celebrations of the Magna Carta are delighted to confirm they have been successful in attracting additional funds for this diverse project. The village has been awarded the sum of £2,225.00 by the Magna Carta Trust which is responsible for allocating UK Government Grant monies to mark the 800th anniversary of the sealing of this historic document.

These new funds are specifically for two permanent community art and design projects. They focus on the significance of the Magna Carta and the part that Castle Hedingham and its Magna Carta baron, the 3rd Earl of Oxford Robert de Vere, played in the story. Both pieces celebrate the importance of the Magna Carta in the evolution of democracy, not just in the UK, but across the world.

“The involvement of local volunteers, local craftspeople and the children in both our local schools is paramount to this project,” explained Christina Applebee who is leading both projects. “It’s great to be able to bring together so many sections of our community under the banner of the Magna Carta.”

The project consists of an embroidered panel, measuring 1m x 68cms, in a locally made showcase and textile banners measuring 2.46m x 38cms, using a variety of textile techniques. Another banner of a similar size will be created by the children at De Vere primary who will also receive, as part of the funding, 25 tabards to wear for the play they will be performing.

R-deV-for-Trudi-154x300Pupils at Hedingham School are also working on the design and production of a 2m x 60cms board of digitised graphic art that will eventually be displayed on a dedicated notice board to be erected in Castle Hedingham.

Ultimately, the embroidery and banners will be part of an exhibition that is currently being developed with the help of the Braintree Museum. It will first be staged in St. Nicholas Church in Castle Hedingham during the celebrations in June and will move to the Braintree Museum itself in September.

Details of the various other music, drama and art activities to celebrate the Magna Carta will be confirmed in the coming months. A waymarked footpath between Hedingham Castle and Clare Castle, home to another Magna Carta baron Richard de Clare, will also be published in early Spring.

The overall programme benefits from a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Sharing Heritage grant of £9,700 which has been given to help Castle Hedingham honour its involvement in laying the foundations of constitutional law through the sealing of the Magna Carta.

Media contact for Castle Hedingham Parish Council’s project: Trudi Cullum T: 01787 462889 M: 07768 787777E:

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