On the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, a major new exhibition has opened at Salisbury Cathedral. The charter is often seen as laying the foundations for the justice system we have today. So, the Cathedral has used a grant of £415,000 - to tell its story. Andrew Pate has more.
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.
A ballot opens today for the first ever chance to see all four surviving Magna Carta manuscripts in the same place.
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.
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.
The Very Reverend June Osborne, Dean of Salisbury Cathedral, gives her reaction to the plans to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. The Cathedral is currently home to one of four surviving copies.
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.
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.
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.