Britain’s “island story” is to be celebrated with £10m designated by the culture secretary, Maria Miller, to mark anniversaries of events such as the battles of Waterloo and Agincourt; the signing of Magna Carta; and significant dates relating to the second world war.

“The Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic and Paralympic Games showed how shared national moments can bring the whole country together,” said Miller. “This new fund reflects the fact there is enormous enthusiasm to provide more opportunities to foster the sense of community spirit and national pride that such events can inspire.”

She added: “Our island story is unique, inspiring and educative in equal measure and it’s right that everyone, young and old, should have the chance to appreciate it through commemorative activities, and be reminded of Britain’s place in the world.”

The anniversary of the battle of Bannockburn is also mentioned in Miller’s announcement. The encounter was a significant defeat for Edward II of England by Robert Bruce in 1314, and its 700th anniversary is already the focus of celebrations in Scotland three months before the independence referendum of 18 September 2014.

The centenary of the birth of Dylan Thomas and “a decade of anniversaries in Northern Ireland” are also within the fund’s sights.

The money for the “our island story fund” is to be earmarked from the Heritage Lottery Fund to celebrate anniversaries falling over the next four years. Bodies may apply for sums from several thousand pounds up to £2m.

Jenny Abramsky, chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “This lottery investment will ensure that pivotal moments, places or people will not be forgotten by future generations.”

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Photo Credit: One of four surviving copies of the 1215 Magna Carta. This copy is one of two held at the British Library.