The Magna Carta has received a warm welcome in Vercelli as it arrived in the city for the celebrations of the 800th anniversary of the Abbey of Sant'Andrea.

The Revd Canon Chris Pullin, Chancellor of Hereford Cathedral, and Perpetual Trust Chief Executive, Glyn Morgan have returned to Hereford this week after ensuring a safe delivery of one of the cathedral’s treasures. To protect the document, they were accompanied by Chris Woods, Head of The National Conservation Service, throughout each step of the journey.

The Magna Carta is currently appearing as a highlight of the exhibition Guala Bicchieri: L’Europa a Vercelli agli inizi del Duecento, (Guala Bicchieri: Vercelli and Europe at the beginning of the 13th century), at Arca de Vercelli, a former church which is now a venue for exhibitions and cultural events in the city's centre. During the visit, the Chancellor gave a talk to high school students and spoke about the importance of the 1217 Magna Carta at the grand opening ceremony in the magnificent basilica of Sant’Andrea.

Cardinal Guala Bicchieri, who laid the foundation stone of the Basilica on 19 February 1219, was one of the most eminent figures in Vercelli history. As the papal legate to England, he was instrumental in the creation and ratification of the 1217 Magna Carta, which brought to an end the civil war which arose in the reign of King John. In November 1217, the young Henry III gave the Cardinal the income of the church of Saint Andrew, Chesterton, north of Cambridge. Back in Vercelli, Guala used the income to finance the construction of the Abbey of Sant'Andrea, one of the first examples of Gothic architecture in Italy.

The Revd Canon Chris Pullin, Chancellor of Hereford Cathedral, said, “There was terrific enthusiasm and commitment shown by people in Vercelli from the very start of the project.  The City Council, Archdiocese, Cathedral Museum, Diocesan Library and Chesterton Association were wonderful and generous hosts during our stay and we made friendships which will endure.”

Glyn Morgan, Chief Executive of Hereford Cathedral Perpetual Trust, “We are very pleased to have been able to establish a partnership with our friends in Vercelli and delighted to have worked with the British Embassy in Rome to promote the Magna Carta to a wider community. One of the highlights of our visit was welcoming the British Deputy Ambassador and we look forward to progressing further programming together.”

You can keep up to date with the exhibition by following Abbazia di Sant’Andrea Vercelli on Facebook

Image credit: Andrea Cherchi Photo