Lincoln Ambassador

Lincoln - Magna Carta

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Perhaps the jewel in Lincoln Castle’s crown is its role as guardian of the 1215 Magna Carta owned by Lincoln Cathedral. In 1215 Magna Carta was sealed by King John, requiring the king to be subject to his own law. It is revered as the foundation of freedom in Britain.

Classic facts about Magna Carta: it was sealed by King John, never signed; Magna Carta translates as the Great Charter; don’t refer to it as the Magna Carta, it’s the equivalent of saying the the Magna Carta! It is on a single sheet of parchment, written in iron gall ink and consists of 54 lines of closely written and abbreviated Latin.

In 1215 several copies of Magna Carta were made. As well as individual copies for such as the Royal Archives, each of the 40 counties were supplied with an individual copy. Today only four remain: two are with the British Library, one belongs to Salisbury Cathedral and the other belongs to Lincoln Cathedral. On the reverse of ours is written Lincolnia.

Lincoln Castle Revealed incorporates a new vault built to the highest environmental and security specification. Alongside it will be the Charter of the Forest, created in 1217 as a complementary charter to Magna Carta, from which it evolved. Lincoln is the only place where Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest can be seen side by side.

There will be a third guest document on rotation alongside these two prestigious charters and in the auditorium two films will inform visitors of the events of 1215 which culminated in the Battle of Lincoln Fair in 1217 and the influence that Magna Carta has had over its 800 year life.