The Mini-Barons Celebrate Christmas

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Throughout this summer the city of Lincoln celebrated the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta at Runneymede.  Only four copies of this ‘Great Charter’ are still in existence today: two in the British Library, one in Salisbury Cathedral and one that belongs to Lincoln Cathedral, but is on display in Lincoln Castle.

As part of the anniversary celebrations in Lincoln the organisers created a Barons’ Charter Trail for children to follow. Twenty five lifesized and colourful ‘barons’ were created and given names like ‘Truck Driver Baron’ and ‘Wild Flower Baron’. They were placed in prominent positions across the city centre and little ‘mini barons’ were produced for people to buy and decorate themselves.

I wrote a post about the Magna Carta, with pictures of the life-sized barons in August (here) but here is a picture of just three of them . . .

. .  and this one had changed his clothes to welcome people to the Christmas market over last weekend:


In September the barons were brought together for one last ‘reunion’ in the castle grounds before they were auctioned off.  Since then, as part of the Christmas festivities in Lincoln, many shops and businesses have been given one of these mini barons to decorate and display in widows, or on check-out counters. Again, the challenge has been to see how many people can find them. Last week we went into ‘downhill Lincoln’ – the main shopping area – and photographed some of the barons we found:

On Friday evening, we went to Lincoln Christmas Market and had a look for a few more of these little barons in shops in the ‘uphill’ part of the city. These are some we found:

The Barons – both big and small – have been good for Lincoln. Along with the Magna Carta and the Sand Sculptures, they have brought many visitors and trade to the city. Last weekend the Christmas market added to the festive feel as 2015 draws to a close. I wonder what 2016 will bring . . .?

Shoe Baron Hearder

About milliethom

I am a reader and writer of historical fiction with a keen interest in the Earth's history and all it involves, both physically and socially. I like nothing better than to be outdoors, especially in faraway places, and baking is something I do when my eyes need respite from my computer screen.
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39 Responses to The Mini-Barons Celebrate Christmas

  1. These mini barons are so special! I love all of the pictures Millie! Wow you found so many of them! Thanks for sharing this special and unique tradition!

  2. leggypeggy says:

    The barons are wonderful and so colourful. Also, Australia’s Parliament holds an original Magna Carta. As far as I can tell the British Library only has one (we must have the other you thought was there).

    • milliethom says:

      Hi Peggy. Regarding the Magna Carta…
      I’ve checked this very carefully, on various sites, including the ‘Magna Carta’ book issued at Lincoln. The four, original documents from 1215 are in the locations I mentioned. It seems that it was reissued several times in the 13th century and 17 of these later copies copies survive. Fifteen of them are in Britain, one is displayed in Australia’s Parliament and one, dating from 1297, is in the U.S. national archives. So the British Library does still have two. If you know, or find out, anything else about this, Peggy, I’d be very pleased to hear.

      • leggypeggy says:

        Hi Millie, It seems there is more than one set of ‘originals’. The set you refer to is from 1215, but there’s also an ‘original’ set from 1297. Have at look at the link I shared above, which says ours is an original from 1297.

      • milliethom says:

        Hello again, Peggy. I wasn’t disputing the existence of the 1297 documents. They were ‘originals’ of the Magna Carta as it was reissued (by Edward 1, I believe). As you say, Australia has one of those. What I was saying was that Lincoln, Salisbury and the British Library are the only places to hold the four surviving documents signed by King John in 1215 at Runneymede. Of the four later issues Australia has one, as you rightly say, the US has one and I think the other two are in the National Archives.
        So, the British LIbrary does have two of the 1215 originals signed by John, as I said.

      • leggypeggy says:

        Oh Millie, I knew you weren’t disputing it. I was just interested to find there was more than one set of what the historians call ‘originals’. Once I saw the difference in dates I realised that you’d done your homework thoroughly, while I hadn’t. 🙂

      • milliethom says:

        I was worried that I’d misled you in my post by not explaining things fully, Peggy. I really didn’t take offence at what you’d asked. I was trying to explain what I meant a little more clearly. The point is that John was a very naughty boy, who never had any intention of keeping to the treaty. As soon as he’d signed it the war with the barons resumed. The charter was reissued several times by various kings after Johns’s death in 1216, the most famous and important one being that of 1297. Have a lovely week, Peggy and a great time getting ready for Christmas out there in the sunshine. 🙂

  3. Atomic Words says:

    Thank you for sharing Millie. This is something special.

    • milliethom says:

      Thank you for reading! Things have been quite hectic in Lincoln since the summer. This anniversary of the Magna Carta has brought so many tourists. But it has all been such fun and, as I said in the post, very good for trade in a small city like Lincoln. It is such an important document, with issues about human rights that are still relevant today. 🙂

  4. England has such a long rich history, we here in the States do not, much too young. I love those Baron’s what fun it really gives the Holidays special meaning.

    • milliethom says:

      Thanks, Suzanne. It’s been a lot of fun this year in lincoln because of the Magna Carta celebrations and the creation of these barons – big and small. I think if I came to the U.S. I’d be interested in finding out about the indigenous Indian people. That does go back a long way. There are so many different tribes, and that fascinates me. 🙂

  5. Mara Fields says:

    Such cute barons! Though I have to say, none of them look all that happy. you’d think they’d be grinning from ear to ear getting the king to sign away some of his power, eh? 🙂

    • milliethom says:

      That’s exactly what I thought when I first saw them in the summer. The little ones are exactly the same design – totally miserable looking. 😦 It must be difficult to make a downturned mouth look as though it’s smiling. I imagine the designer was thinking of how the batons would look during all their battles with John. Thanks Mara. Great minds think alike! 🙂

  6. Those barons are wonderful. I especially love the small ones tucked all over town.

    We do have something similar in a number of towns in the USA.. Mermaids in Norfolk, Virginia. We’ve seen cows, crabs, and fish. It is so much fun to find one while walking around a town. We have also seen painted fire hydrants.

    • milliethom says:

      That does sound like fun. It is so nice when towns make an effort to make the place interesting and fun for locals and visitors alike. Thank you for sharing that, Dinata.

  7. Ann Koplow says:

    I loved this post, Millie. Thank you.

  8. Cute barons , Millie 🙂 Such a lovely post, great to know these traditions 🙂 I had a chance to see The Magna Carta , in Salisbury catherdral , during a short 10 day visit to the UK in 2012 🙂

  9. Lina says:

    This read was very very interesting and the pictures really amused me….☺

  10. inesephoto says:

    I have read your article about the twenty five barons. Love these little folks and hope that 2016 will bring more joy and less sadness.

  11. I love the barons, so great to see the mini ones – and what a good idea to get people looking harder in shop windows they might not normally give a second glance.

    • milliethom says:

      Thanks, Bekki. Yes, I think it served as quite a good sales technique. It definitely drew people to shop windows. Some barons were painted so well, too. Others were done by children, so lovely in a different way. I’m wondering whether this area will come up with anything interesting next year. It’s the anniversary of King Johns’s death, and he died in Newark Castle. Newark put on a re-enactment of a visit from John this year, so they may not bother.

  12. I remember you said that you will talk about mini Barons when you were talking about the big ones before. It’s aamzing to see these mini ones finally. They just look as cute as the big ones. ❤ The fun part is they actually changed their clothes to welcome people to the Christmas market. I would die to capture tons of photos of it if I were there. 😀 Thanks a lot for taking us with you! 😉 ❤

  13. Pingback: The Mini-Barons Celebrate Christmas | Simple Things

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  15. House of Heart says:

    A beautifully intricate post Millie. I afire the Christmas market, it timds me so much of when I lived in Germany. Right now I am hearing of a terrorist attack in the UK. my heart is going out to every over there. I hope you and yours are good. ❤

  16. milliethom says:

    Thanks Holly, on both counts, The terrorist attack has upset and angered so many people today. Words can’t describe how I feel about it … all those youngsters! I grieve for the parents.
    Christmas in Lincoln is very German-style because of the Christmas market. The city is twinned with a German town and the market in Lincoln has been going for some years now. Thank you for reading this post from so long ago – and many thanks for your thoughts and feelings about the recent attack. ❤

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