RESPECTED historians explored Trowbridge’s Magna Carta links and the medieval period at a special conference to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the charter at Trowbridge Civic Centre on Saturday.

The King John and Magna Carta England conference was the first of a series of major events organised by Trowbridge Town Council and included a full day of informative seminars by some of the country’s leading historians.

Among those speaking were Sean McGlynn, who lectures at The Open University and University of Plymouth, and Dr Matt Bennett, a leading authority on medieval warfare and chivalry.

There were also talks from American academic Dr Elena Woodacre, former Wiltshire County Archivist Ken Rogers and Martyn Whittock, who spoke about life in King John’s England.

“It was a fantastic event and the impressive turnout probably makes it the biggest Magna Carta conference held in Europe so far this year,” said local historian Andy Milroy, who also spoke at the event about Trowbridge Baron Henry de Bohun.

“Everyone really enjoyed it and we had lots of great feedback from the people who were there and the speakers. All of the talks were very interesting and I think it was a very unique event.

“What made it so special was that the Magna Carta has such a strong local connection to Trowbridge through Henry de Bohun and I spoke to a number of people who said they had learnt so much.

“It was an amazing achievement and Trowbridge Town Council and the Civic Centre did a fantastic job organising it. Sean McGlynn said the whole event had a real buzz about it.”

Other Magna Carta events taking place in the town this year include a medieval history day at Trowbridge Museum in May, a Magna Carta Liberteas Big Lunch at the Town Park in June and a three-day medieval market in July.

There will also be the world premier of Horrible Histories Barmy Britain Part Three at the Civic Centre, with four performances of the show on July 18 and 19.

Hayley Bell, leisure activities manager for Trowbridge Town Council, said: “The conference went really well and the fact that it was sold out made a big difference.

“We were delighted by the range of people who attended and we even had visitors from as far as Birmingham and Woking. It was the first of our major Magna Carta events and we couldn’t have asked for it to go any better.”