Human rights law anniversary to focus on Danish king who found refuge in Littleport

PUBLISHED: 12:29 09 January 2020 | UPDATED: 09:29 14 January 2020

Human rights law anniversary to focus on King Canute who visited Littleport. Also pictured are historians in York Minster around a 1,000-year-old copy of Canute’s proclamation of 1020. Picture: EPIC TALES

Human rights law anniversary to focus on King Canute who visited Littleport. Also pictured are historians in York Minster around a 1,000-year-old copy of Canute’s proclamation of 1020. Picture: EPIC TALES

Archant

A project to mark the 1,000 anniversary of human rights law in the UK will explore the legend of a Danish conqueror that held close ties with Ely and Littleport.

The 1,000-year-old York Gospels contains the earliest intact copy of Canute’s laws written in the back. Canute presented it as a gift to the Archbishop of York around 1020. Picture: EPIC TALESThe 1,000-year-old York Gospels contains the earliest intact copy of Canute’s laws written in the back. Canute presented it as a gift to the Archbishop of York around 1020. Picture: EPIC TALES

Organisations from across Cambridgeshire will raise awareness of the historic roots underpinning modern human rights in the project called 'Kingdom 1000'.

King Canute established the largest surviving legal code of the early medieval period relating to human rights.

He was inspired by his friendship with English peasants from Littleport to grant all medieval Britain's people, rich or poor, the equal right to petition the king in 1020AD.

King Canute would often visit Ely Abbey, but on one occasion when he arrived by barge, the monks did not recognise him and turned him away.

He went on to find refuge in Littleport.

The Kingdom 1000 project will now stream free videos from social enterprise site Epic Tales exploring documentary evidence and the folk tales.

It will help communities to hold their own celebratory parties with free resources such as medieval games, recipes and workshops for schools and youth groups.

It will also allow the public to add images and video with creative responses to the history, which the project's committee hope to curate for a final event being planned for June 2021.

Historian Chip Colquhoun visited York Minster to see the oldest surviving copy of the law, accompanied by medieval historians MJ Trow and Dr Charles Insley.

Mr Colquhoun, author of Who Made England, told BBC Cambridgeshire: "The story of human rights is everyone's story, so this is a chance for communities to come together and celebrate that which brings us together."

The project will run throughout 2020 with support from Cambridgeshire Music, Arts Council England and Voluntary Arts UK.

It will launch on January 20 at www.kingdom1000.com

An exclusive competition for Cambridgeshire residents has also been launched, which ends this Sunday (January 19).

The prizes include a history day for a local school of your choice, and a Cambridge Live gift voucher.

Full details are at www.epictales.co.uk/post/k1000-launch


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