Last year I wrote to the Prime Minister to suggest a loan of our Mappa Mundi and Magna Carta to France, recognising the generous loan of the Bayeux Tapestry to the UK. And I haven’t given up hope—as always the key is persistence.
So I was delighted to see that the Cathedral have announced an agreed loan to Italy of its Magna Carta, as part of a celebration marking the 800th anniversary of the foundation of the Basilica of Sant’Andrea.
The 1217 Magna Carta will be on display as a key feature in Vercelli, northern Italy, as part of celebrations in March. This Magna Carta has a fantastic history linked to the Basilica, and to the man who laid the foundation stone – Cardinal Guala Bicchieri. Bicchieri was papal legate to England at the time, and played a key role in the issuance of the Magna Carta.
This loan of the Mappa Mundi is a wonderful piece of cultural diplomacy with Italy and one that jointly celebrates one world, shared humanity and the rule of law. I hope in return we might welcome more Italian visitors to the city.
Massive congratulations once again to Glyn Morgan and Revd Canon Chris Pullin for their fantastic work in making it happen. I would encourage all who might be considering a trip abroad this spring to consider a trip to Vercelli to celebrate this wonderful collaboration and shared history.