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Celebration of the Birth of Democracy - Magna Carta 800 Years

Posted On: 17/06/15


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Students at Joyce Frankland Academy, Newport are commemorating 800 years of democracy by performing a special short play at Stansted Mountfitchet Castle on Monday 15th June; 800 years to the day of the signing of what is history’s arguably most influential document, the Magna Carta.

Magna Carta, which means ‘The Great Charter’, is one of the most important documents in history as it established the principle that everyone is subject to the law, even the monarch, and guarantees the rights of individuals, the right to justice and the right to a fair trial. Today it remains an enduring symbol of freedom; of the fundamental rights that lie at the very heart of our democratic society.

On 15th June 1215 at Runnymede, on the River Thames in Windsor, bad King John was persuaded to accede to a number of demands made by a powerful group of his Barons. The youngest, but reportedly one of the bravest of these Barons was Richard de Montfitchet II, who resided at Mountfitchet Castle.

Assistant Principal, Duncan Roberts said, “The Academy is delighted to be involved in this once in a life time experience. We will be creating a re-enactment of the sealing of the Magna Carta which will involve students from Years 8, 9 and 10. Everything from the script to music was created by students from our Academy. The piece will particularly explore Richard de Montfitchet II who was barely in his teens at the time the Magna Carta was sealed. The re-enactment is a phenomenal opportunity for our students who will rise to the challenge and demonstrate their excellence.”

Principal, Gordon Farquhar said, “This is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the rich history of our community and our country. The students involved find it fascinating that Richard de Montfitchet II was around their age when he signed the Magna Carta; the idea that a local child could have such a significant impact on history has had a profound effect on them!” Mr Farquhar added that, “The Academy is delighted that our students have been asked to be involved in marking this highly significant and important event in such an exciting way.”

Synopsis of script: 

  • Before their History exam Matilda and Margie discuss the Magna Carta.
  • The Archbishop approaches the Barons of England to draw up the Magna Carta to keep King John in check.
  • King John meets with his daughter Joan and Lady Nicolaa to discuss the situation.
  • The Barons discuss the Magna Carta
  • Archbishop and King John discuss the Magna Carta
  • King John throws a banquet for the Barons.
  • The Barons rejoice when King John eventually signs the Magna Carta.