Christian cafe claimed Magna Carta and refused to close during lockdown

A Christian cafe and bookshop in Nottinghamshire which refused to close despite lockdown restrictions now says it will only stay open for take-away services.

The Mustard Seed in Gedling repeatedly defied lockdown rules by continuing to trade, putting signs on the door claiming rights under the Magna Carta.


What is the Magna Carta?

Magna Carta means 'The Great Charter' and it was established in 1215. It holds that everyone is subject to the law - even royalty and those in government- and it guarantees the rights of individuals, the right to a fair trial and the right to justice.


The cafe put this sign up on the door claiming rights under the Magna Carta. Credit: ITV News Central

On Friday (13 November) council officers imposed a £1,000 fine and ordered the cafe to close, but a day later police dispersed a gathering of up to 50 people at the premises and made two arrests.

One passer by said there were "between 40 and 50" people inside the cafe when police arrived and speaking about a lack of social distancing he described them as being "on top of each other".

The owner of the cafe spoke to ITV News Central on Monday (16 November) where she said she believed the pandemic was "full of lies" and that it had become "politicised".

She added: "What's going to happen when the truth comes out that the country and people's lives are devastated and I kept quiet. I went along with it because I was alright and my beliefs won't let me do that ever."

Speaking to Nottinghamshire Live also on Monday (16 November) the owner said: "I'm standing up for what is right. I believe the forced closure is unlawful. I don't run this for money but for helping people."

She said the business would remain open for people to visit as a support line but would not be trading, stating that she helps a lot of people who're struggling with their mental health.

The Mustard Seed cafe and book shop in Gedling defied national lockdown rules by staying open. Credit: ITV News Central

On Tuesday (17 November) the owner of the cafe said it now intends to only serve people take away food and drinks, in line with government guidance.

Gedling Borough Council says it's seeking seeking support from the courts to secure the immediate closure of the Mustard Seed as it continues to ignore the rules requiring it to close.

Gedling Borough Council, Councillor John Clarke said: "Our Enforcement Officers have visited the premises and so far issued four fixed penalty notices, totalling £17,000, for failing to comply with the regulations set out by the government for non-essential businesses to close to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

"We have tried to work with this business but unfortunately they have continually ignored our warnings and national regulations and persisted to remain open, creating a public health risk and potentially spreading the virus.

"They have left us with no other choice but to use enforcement action against them, seeking support from the courts to secure immediate closure.

"I’d like to thank the majority of other businesses out there who have worked with us and followed the government guidance to keep our communities safe throughout this current lockdown. It is vitally important that we all follow national guidance to protect ourselves and others.

We will not tolerate flaunting of these rules by any business - flagrantly disregarding the rules puts our communities at risk.

Councillor John Clarke, Gedling Borough Council

Inspector Chris Pearson, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: "The lockdown regulations are intended to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and save lives.

"Most people across the county have been playing their part in limiting the spread of the virus but sadly there remain a few people who refuse to adhere to our efforts to engage, explain and educate and consequently we will not hesitate to work with our partners to enforce the regulations."


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