Local historian Chip Colquhoun discovered the story when researching Cambridgeshire Folk Tales for Children for The History Press: around 1020AD, King Canute was inspired by English peasants to grant all his subjects, rich or poor, an equal right to petition the king. Chip was amazed to discover the law really exists. Known as “Canute’s Proclamation of 1020”, it’s the oldest example of an inclusive law in Britain, and later underpinned Henry II’s creation of English Common Law in 1166 – the basis for Human Rights legislation worldwide. But Chip was equally surprised to find few of the country’s cultural organisations were aware of the encroaching millennial, despite his research begin verified by academics including Dr Charles Insley, Senior Lecturer of Medieval History at the University of Manchester. So Chip approached his local authority.
Learning that a local folk tale provided key evidence for the millennial, the council’s culture team swiftly drew up plans for a year - long celebration. Events will include a joint open-air sing between schools conducted by live stream on 20th March, as well as a county-wide composing competition for schools launching in September. Cambs County Council hope to conclude the millennial with an open - air festival in June 2021. Since the council’s involvement, other organisations nationwide have been inspired to participate, including:
- the Local Government Association
- Libraries Connected
- York Minster
On 20th January this year, a website will launch at www.kingdom1000.com with resources for community organisations wishing to run their own activities to celebrate the millennium.