Discover more about how Woburn shaped our freedom

Woburn Abbey
Woburn Abbey

Visitors to Woburn Abbey can explore the legacy of Magna Carta at a special day of tours on Saturday June 14.

The political freedoms and civil liberties that began with Magna Carta, which was sealed 800 years ago, have been supported over the centuries by the Russell family, whose family seat is Woburn.

They were a prominent Whig family who passionately believed in liberty, and there will be chance to learn more about their contributions to the freedoms we enjoy today on a special trail through the abbey.

Visitors can learn how, in 1683, William, Lord Russell joined the Rye House Plot against the perceived absolute monarchy of the Stuarts; he was arrested and, despite numerous pleas, beheaded for treason. The year after William of Orange’s arrival in 1688 as William III, the king pronounced the trial illegal; you can view this royal document at the abbey.

The family was rewarded with a Dukedom in 1694. Learn also about Lord John Russell PM, see the desk where he wrote many speeches celebrating civil liberties and the cartoon of his grandson, the philosopher and champion of humanitarian ideals, Bertrand Russell.

The tour is free with admission.

Guided tours will take place at 11am, 1pm and 2pm on the 14th of June.

For more information, visit