England

Rochester Cathedral shows Magna Carta with 'forerunner'

Faversham Magna Carta Image copyright Richard Leeney
Image caption Faversham's Magna Carta still has King Edward I's seal attached

Two rare manuscripts have been brought together in an exhibition marking 800 years of Magna Carta.

Magna Carta Rediscovered has toured Kent throughout the anniversary year.

But at Rochester Cathedral from Saturday the exhibition is showing Magna Carta alongside Textus Roffensis - which experts believe was the "grandfather" of Magna Carta itself.

Textus Roffensis was compiled in Rochester in the 1120s. Magna Carta was sealed in Runnymede, Surrey, in 1215.

A spokeswoman for Rochester Cathedral said Textus Roffensis contained the first recorded English laws and the Coronation Charter of Henry I.

She said the Coronation Charter later influenced the rebel barons who drafted Magna Carta and struck a deal with King John.

Image copyright Rochester Cathedral
Image caption Textus Roffensis is thought to have inspired Magna Carta

Textus Roffensis will be shown alongside Faversham's 1300 edition of Magna Carta, which still has King Edward I's seal attached.

Later editions of Magna Carta were drawn up in the years following the original 1215 treaty and it is thought seven 1300 editions survive.

Magna Carta protected the rights and freedoms of society and established that the king was subject to the law.

Its influence can be seen in other documents across the world including the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the US Constitution and Bill of Rights.


What was Magna Carta?

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Magna Carta at Salisbury Cathedral dates from 1215, one of four of the first documents that are still around
  • Magna Carta outlined basic rights with the principle that no-one was above the law, including the king
  • It charted the right to a fair trial, and limits on taxation without representation
  • It inspired a number of other documents, including the US Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • Only three clauses are still valid - the one guaranteeing the liberties of the English Church; the clause confirming the privileges of the City of London and other towns; and the clause that states that no free man shall be imprisoned without the lawful judgement of his equals

Why are there so many Magna Cartas?


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