Friday, 4 September 2015
Magna Carta explained. Slight controversy.
Dr David Starkey appeared at the Drill Hall last Friday and gave his slant on the story we’re all getting used to hearing and a mighty interesting evening it turned out to be.
Maybe it’s because he’s on the telly a lot but by the time the Evening with David Starkey started there was a virtually full Drill Hall to hear him. The controversial historian started off by reminding us that the venue was the scene of his combative appearance on BBC’s Question Time, as if we needed telling. He also raised our hackles by asserting that Salisbury’s copy of the tome was better than ours, the cad. Surely that was tongue in cheek?
Either way he can hold an audience’s attention alright as he rattled in to his own version of how the famous or was it infamous barons held the detested King John to account and just when he was at his most vulnerable, forced his seal on the Great Charter. Needless to say he repudiated it shortly thereafter. Lincoln was one of only four places in the country that remained loyal to the King and it was to Lincoln that the Monarch, stricken by illness, was attempting to return when he died at Newark Castle losing the Crown Jewels somewhere in the mud of the Wash on the way, according to legend.
Legend is something to which Dr Starkey pays little heed, you may not be surprised to learn and when a questioner asked about a Bury St Edmunds connection to Magna Carta he was given short shrift by sparky Dr Starkey. Next question please!
All in all a very enjoyable evening and really no surprise the venerable history boffin is all the rage on TV. We resolved to keep an eye out for any similar offerings at this or the other venues in our rapidly emerging university city. Were it not for our reasonably new status I doubt whether we would have attracted so famous a speaker.