#Chester: Dong Ding, Chester and the Magna Carta

David Adams
First, this is a big thank you to David Adams, pictured, and all our neighbours who frequent The Addleshaw Tower next door at Beatons Chester.

On 30th May they achieved something special - and gave us a lovely mention.  They officially range the whole peal of Dong Ding Delight Major - a method in praise of tea. From St Laurence Church Frodsham it rang out - as far as we know it's the first ever method on the subject of tea itself.  It looks like it took nearly 3 hrs to ring too! Here's a link to the details, which confirm the method should be now be officially registered.

Why all this talk of bells. Well, as you know, we're holding a great event at Beatons Chester on Sunday 14th June 

Think free carrot cake, Dong Ding tea, bells and talking about freedoms - of the individual and speech.

For the historians or loyal 'Cestrians' here's some more fascinating information gleaned by David Adams, Press Officer for the Chester Cathedral Bellringers - they're the brains and bells behind the event! Over to you David...

'In 1215 Chester had a powerful Earl: Ranulf de Blondville.  Some months after the sealing of the more famous document at Runnymede in 1215, the Earl of Chester issued his own charter.  He did not do it under pressure from his barons, but perhaps it showed how powerful he was; virtually a King of Chester.  The Chester Magna Carta was shorter than the more famous one but had similar clauses.  The final one is of particular significance: it urged the barons to grant the same concessions the Earl granted them to their tenants.  It was hardly likely to have had much effect on the lives of serfs and all unfree people; and it was soon superseded by the Magna Carta and its later versions. Nevertheless, it is interesting to know that Chester had its own Great Charter.'

David Adams

Chester Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers

#Chester: LiberTeas, Magna Carta and Individualitea!

On Sunday 14th June  a nationwide initiative by The National Trust and the Houses of Parliament will see hundreds of events being held under the umbrella of 'LiberTeas' celebrating the 800th Anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta. They are all about 'communiteas' getting together to talk about democracy and freedom... offline. Join us and join in!

Making it all the more delicious is the invitation to take tea at the same time and reflect on the freedoms that started with this remarkable document. Beatons Chester is co-hosting LiberTeas Chester with Chester Cathedral bellringers  - free carrot cake and Dong Ding oolong tea and bell-ringing activities and screens with live streaming so you can watch the bellringers ringing...

... and at all three Beatons venues, you can enjoy a 'LiberTeas Afternoon High Tea' for two on the day  with £5 off all pre-booking! That rings a bell for affordabilitea too!

Why did we want to be involved?

Well, Salisbury holds the finest copy of the four original remaining exemplars of  the Magna Carta (Salisbury's quite close to Tisbury, home of our flagship tearooms). Chester had something quite unique, its own take on Magna Carta which included some fascinating differences - more here from Cheshire Local History Association. An exhibition about Magna Carta and Chester opens in Chester Cathedral Library on June 16th.

I can't find any links between Blandford Forum and Magna Carta but Dorset certainly has a connection - Bearwood near Poole has many roads named after people involved in the signing of Magna Carta and indeed the oldest road in the area is called Magna Road! And both Dorset and Wiltshire are celebrating in style with 800 children being involved in four concerts at Salisbury Cathedral this year.

Bringing Beatons into the equation, two of our group's key values are about honouring the individual, you can read them and our challenge to you at the end. In 1215 when Magna Carta was sealed the rights of the individual - barely acknowledged, and arguably only faintly at best - were first entertained as an idea.

Is it relevant to you and me, today?  Yes. There's a great article by Justin Fisher on the British Library site (brilliant - link here) which explains it all. But if it's all new to you and - like me - you don't really know what's even in the 'Great Charter', Julian Fisher helps,

'The continuing importance of Magna Carta as a source of liberty is well established. One of the key provisions in the 1215 Charter was that imprisonment should not occur without due legal process. This also established the idea of trial by jury. Clause 39 of the 1215 Charter states that: ‘No free man shall be arrested or imprisoned … or exiled or in any way ruined … except by lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.’ 

Then there's bells...  The day has been nominated a Grand Ringing Day - I'm guessing with reference to the famous 'Liberty Bell' - so there will be bells sounding out across the country too. If you're a Cestrian, or one of Beatons Chester's regulars, you'll know the Addleshaw Bell Tower, which houses Chester Cathedral's bells is next door to Beatons Chester.

So what's our offering on Sunday 14th June?
  • At Beatons Chester (phone 01244 950761 to pre-book High Tea) Plus there's a whole afternoon of activities with free carrot cake and Dong Ding oolong tea served from 2.15 to 3.15 - pop into the Bell Tower next door to collect your token. Full details on the LiberTeas website here.
  • At Beatons Blandford (phone 01258 26951) and Tisbury (phone 01747 871819)  pre-Book a LiberTeas High Tea for two to enjoy a £5 discount, or pop in on the day and honour the freedoms that the 'Great Charter' embody in Britain as you chat!  Our challenge to you? Is there something you value about the individual you're with, or yourself? Why not take a few minutes and find the courage to share it with your fellow guests while you enjoy your tea and cake?  
Finally, I promised sharing our values that relate to the individual - and appreciating them. They are:
... valuing the individual - whether supplier, franchisee, customer or any other stakeholder - is necessary for people to feel heard and nourished - it gives Beatons its integrity
 ... developing the attributes and skills of franchisees and staff alike is the single most important factor in creating personal and business success for each person, and therefore the group as a whole

 If that tempts you to come and work for us, check out our vacancies!