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Sandwich to boost from ancient text

Eight hundred years ago, the most important document in the country's legal history was signed.

That document was Magna Carta, and a handful of copies were made in the years afterwards.

Now one of those copies has been found in the Kent History Centre and David Johns has been to see it:

Interviewees: Sir Robert Worcester of the Magna Carta Trust, the mayor of Sandwich, Paul Graeme, and archivist Mark Bateson.


£10 million Magna Carta found hidden in town's archives

There are only four copies of the Magna Carta known to exist Credit: PA

An edition of the Magna Carta which could be worth up to £10 million has been found after it lay forgotten in a council's archives.

The discovery of the version of the historical parchment which established the principle of the rule of law, in the files of the history department of Kent County Council, has been described as an important historical find by an expert.

The document was found in the archives kept in Maidstone but belonging to the town of Sandwich.

The discovery was made at the Kent History and Library centre Credit: KCC

It's understood the document, which is the Charter of Forest, was found in a Victorian scrap book.

The discovery was made by archivist Dr Mark Bateson at the end of December just before the 800th anniversary year celebrations of King John's concession.

"It is a fantastic discovery which comes in the week that the four other known versions were brought together at the Houses of Parliament.

"It is a fantastic piece of news for Sandwich which puts it in a small category of towns and institutions that own a 1300 issue."

– Professor Nicholas Vincent, who authenticated the document
The Salisbury Magna Carta, one of only four 1215 originals Credit: PA

It is understood that Sandwich does not intend to sell its Magna Carta but instead is hoping to benefit from its potential as a tourist attraction.

Ballot to open for one-off Magna Carta exhibition

A ballot opens today for the first ever chance to see all four surviving Magna Carta manuscripts in the same place.

The one-off exhibition will be staged in February 2015 Credit: ITV News

One of the 800-year-old documents is kept at Salisbury Cathedral but for one day only, it will travel to the British Library for a special exhibition.

1,215 winners will get to see the four surviving original manuscripts together for the first time in history.

There are only four original Magna Carta documents from 1215 which survive. Two are kept at the British Library, one at Lincoln Cathedral and one at Salisbury Cathedral.

Magna Carta is one of the world's most influential documents - an agreement granted by King John in 1215 as a practical solution to a political crisis, which in the centuries since has become a potent symbol of liberty and the rule of law.

Following the unification on February 3 next year, the manuscripts will be separated for display in their home institutions as part of major anniversary exhibitions.

Royal wedding dress embroider takes on new challenge

If being tasked with embroidering the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress wasn't enough, a woman from Surrey is taking on her next challenge - to design and embroider a tapestry of the Magna Carta.

It's to coincide with its 800th anniversary and will eventually be taken around the country in the lead up to the event next year.

Mel Bloor has been to see it in the making.

Interviewees: Runnymede Borough Councillor Derek Cotty and Embroider Rhoda Nevins.


Magna Carta at Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral is home to one of four surviving copies of the historic document, the Magna Carta. Issued by King John in 1215 as a solution to a political crisis he was facing.

It established for the first time the monarch was subject to the law of the land, rather than above it.

Although nearly a third of the text was dropped or substantially rewritten within ten years and almost all the clauses have been repealed in modern times, Magna Carta remains a cornerstone of the British Constitution and its principles are echoed in the US constitution and others around the world.

As well as providing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for researchers to study the documents together, the unification will be a chance for 1,215 members of the public to see the manuscripts side-by-side after winning free tickets in an public ballot.


Four copies of Great Charter to be displayed

The four surviving original copies of Magna Carta will be brought together for the first time in history in 2015, the year of the 800th anniversary of the issue of the Charter by King John in 1215.

The unification, which will be held at the British Library in collaboration with Salisbury Cathedral and Lincoln Cathedral will take place over three days in early 2015 and will kick off a year of celebrations across the UK and the world.

The opportunity to study the manuscripts alongside one another will allow historians to study faded or obscured parts of the text more closely and to look for new clues about the identity of the writers of the texts, which is currently unknown.

Magna Carta on display

One of the most valuable pieces of paper owned by any council in Britain has gone on display in Kent.Faversham Council's copy of the Magna Carta is valued at more than fifteen million pounds.

For security reasons it usually it has to be locked away, but residents were given the chance to view it as part of this year's Faversham Festival. Sue Brockman from Faversham Town Council spoke to Meridian reporter Iain McBride about the discovery.