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Magna Carta memorial, delightfully placed outside the Tesco Metro in Egham.

Magna Carta memorial, delightfully placed outside the Tesco Metro in Egham.

In 2015, the four surviving copies of Magna Carta will be united for the first time, marking the 800th anniversary of the landmark legal document’s signing. During a three-day event at the British Library, visitors and scholars will get to see the quartet in one room. Currently, the Library holds two copies, while the others are at Salisbury and Lincoln Cathedrals.

As any school kid will tell you, King John signed Magna Carta at the bottom at Runnymede near Windsor in 1215. And, as anyone but the prime minister will tell you, the name means ‘Great Charter’ — an early attempt to enshrine the rights of, and restrictions upon, the king and his subjects. It inspired the US constitution and is famed throughout the world.

It’s not yet clear how easy it’ll be to view the four copies. Information released so far states that the documents will be open to view by scholars, and that 1,215 adults and children will win free tickets by a yet-to-open ballot. Whether this is the total ticket allowance, or others will be available with a price tag has yet to be clarified.

The BBC has more background.

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Article by Matt Brown | 4,762 Articles | View Profile | Twitter

  • Sir Robert Worcester

    Matt, anyone who’s on top of his game will tell you it wasn’t signed, it was sealed!

    I wrote straight away to the PM when he blew it on the Letterman show, saying ‘If I’d only been able to have a word in your earpiece during the Letterman show, I’d have said when he asked you where was it signed, you should say ‘Nowhere!, it wasn’t signed, it was sealed.’

    Find out a lot more at http://www.magnacarta800th.com.

    Cheers

    Sir Robert Worcester KBE DL,
    Chairman, Magna Carta 800th
    Commemoration Committee