Magna Carta cycle ride raises funds for parish church

Steve Brown will ride 1000 miles through England's charter towns

A vicar's husband is cycling 1000 miles across Britain visiting the hot spots of the Magna Carta's history to raise funds for a church building project.

Starting on 21 July, Steve Brown will ride through 12 historic towns in 20 days, before hopefully completing the challenge on 9 August.

It is one of a number of events tied into next year's 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta - a historic document widely considered to have paved the way for the rule of constitutional law.

Throughout his journey, Steve will deliver manuscripts of a specially commissioned Magna Carta anthem to churches and cathedrals across England to mark the anniversary.

Steve said: "I look forward to the people I will be meeting along the route and also hope that people will give generously so that our church in Odiham can continue to welcome people in the years to come".

All Saints church, Odiham needs to raise at least £250,000 to restore and adapt the church building so that it can better serve its local community.

Magna Carta, otherwise known as The Great Charter of the Liberties of England, was signed by King John on 15 June 1215 in Runnymede on the bank of the River Thames, in response to pressure from the Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton and the barons.

It was not the first written document to describe the liberties of the clergy and the nobles, but it was the first to achieve traction after it was distributed to the major cathedrals around England.

Steve's route includes Winchester, Salisbury, Oxford, Hereford, Durham, Lincoln, Bury St Edmunds, St Albans, London and Canterbury.

Collectively, these are known as "charter towns", as they are home to key sites in the formation and development of the document.

Some of them, including St Albans and Bury St Edmunds, are where barons and clergy met to plan the re-introduction of Henry I's Coronation Charter from 1100 on which Magna Carta was based.

Salisbury and Lincoln Cathedrals each have one of the four surviving copies of 1215 edition of Magna Carta – the other two are held at the British Library. The Bodleian Library in Oxford and Hereford Cathedral each have copies of the 1217 edition.

Preparations are now well underway for next year's celebrations, which include Magna Carta weeks in the charter towns, a three-month long celebration at Runnymede and an exhibition at the British Library, as well as numerous other events at cathedrals around the country.

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