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6 Things You May Not Know About Magna Carta

6 Things You May Not Know About Magna Carta



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1. We know who signed it, but we’ll never be sure who wrote it.

Magna Carta was an agreement between King John and a group of English barons in response to years of the king’s misrule and excessive taxation. Despite a closing line suggesting the charter was “Given by [John’s] hand,” the charter was more or less forced on him by the barons. Many 19th-century historians suggested that the charter was written by one of its most influential signers, Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton. However, the document’s exact wording was likely the product of months of back-and-forth negotiations between the king and his noblemen.

2. Though considered a founding document, Magna Carta had plenty of precedents.

The roots of Magna Carta are found in other charters granted by English kings at the beginning of their reigns. In 1100, Henry I had issued a 20-clause coronation charter, promising to rule justly, offer the church greater financial freedom and reduce royal meddling in the marriages and family inheritances of his barons. Although Henry kept few of these promises, his charter nonetheless served as a basis for the barons’ negotiations in 1215. Magna Carta was unique, however, in several respects, including its length and detail, its timing (it had been 60 years since the last royal charter) and the fact that it was less an offering by the king to his nobles than a demand by the nobles to their king.

3. England’s greatest legal document was a failure in its initial form.

Intended as a peace treaty, this first Magna Carta never took full effect and failed to avert war between John and the nobles. By September of 1215 the barons had garrisoned Rochester Castle in opposition to the king, while John had successfully petitioned the Vatican to have Magna Carta annulled and all the rebels excommunicated. It was only in 1225 that a new king, 9-year-old Henry III, reissued an abridged version of Magna Carta as his own coronation charter.

4. Three of Magna Carta’s original clauses are still part of British law.

Magna Carta laid a foundation for lasting legal concepts like the ban on cruel and unusual punishments, trial by a jury of one’s peers and the idea that justice should not be sold or unnecessarily delayed. But the document also addressed very specific concerns that don’t quite echo through the ages, including a ban on fishing weirs and a mandate on the proper width for the bolts of cloth used to make monk’s robes.

When Henry III reissued Magna Carta its 69 clauses had been reduced to 27. It remained that way, with minor changes, until the 19th century, when British parliamentarians set about pruning obsolete laws from the many-layered British legal code. By the mid-20th century, only three clauses remained on the books. These remaining laws grant freedom to the Church of England, guarantee the customs and liberties of the city of London and—most importantly—forbid arbitrary arrest and the sale of justice.

5. There’s no single “original” copy.

Multiple copies of the first Magna Carta (a sheet of parchment with approximately 3,600 words written in vegetable-based ink) were distributed to individual English county courts during the summer of 1215. Today four of those copies survive; the British Library holds two, and the other two are in the collections of the cathedrals at Salisbury and Lincoln. At the beginning of World War II, Winston Churchill tried to force Lincoln Cathedral to donate its original Magna Carta to the United States, where it had been on display, in hopes that such a gift would create support for an alliance with Great Britain. Such a strong-armed donation would, of course, have run contrary to the property rights enshrined in the document itself. In the end, the cathedral’s Magna Carta spent the war under guard at Fort Knox, but was returned to England after the war.

A handful of other Magna Cartas are versions issued between 1225 and 1297, when the charter officially entered the English statute books. In 2007, a 1297 Magna Carta sold at auction for $21.3 million, the most ever paid for a single page of text.

6. If you call it “the Magna Carta,” you probably aren’t from England.

According to standard British usage, King John’s Great Charter has 63 clauses but no definite article—it’s simply referred to as Magna Carta, without the “the.” The charter was written in Latin (in which there are no exact equivalents for “an” or “the”), and signed by men who would have been fluent in Latin, French and Middle English. But for American newspapers, museum exhibitions and politicians, Magna Carta nearly always merits the article.


Mary Ann Bernal

King John signs Magna Carta. © GL Archive / Alamy
History Extra
Magna Carta, which this year celebrates its 800th anniversary, is perhaps the best-known document in world history. Yet much of it is either misunderstood or clouded in myth. Here, Nicholas Vincent, a professor of medieval history at the University of East Anglia, reveals some lesser-known facts about the iconic document…

Whenever and wherever it is exhibited, thousands queue to view what Lord Denning described as “the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot”. King John, the monarch who put his seal to Magna Carta, is widely regarded as the worst king in English history precisely because it was his particular acts of tyranny that led his barons to demand the charter. But did you know…


What is Magna Carta Day and five other things you probably didn’t know about the document

The document – which ultimately put a cap on the power and influence of the monarchy – has become a symbol of liberty in the West.

Its tenets went on to influence the writing of the American Constitution, including the declaration that ‘no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law’.

Signed by the banks of the River Thames, the 3350-word charter was actually part of an effort to achieve peace during a turbulent period of history, but it had a huge ripple effect down the ages.

Here are five amazing facts about the beautifully-scrawled document, which you can read in full here, to celebrate Magna Carta Day.

1. Magna Carta Day almost became a public holiday

Magna Carta Day falls on 15 June each year, and it’s a chance to celebrate western liberty, which we may well take for granted.

So influential was the document that there were proposals in 1947 to make this date a public holiday in the British Empire and the United States, as an opportunity to emphasise Anglo-American co-operation.

It was discussed by parliament but some civil servants opposed the day being a holiday as they feared that a celebration of liberty might provoke opposition to British imperial rule. Ultimately, the civil servants had their way and the proposal was dismissed.

2. The Magna Carta gave us all the right to a fair trial

The Magna Carta was created in 1215 and signed by King John of England in Runnymede, Surrey (a peaceful spot that you can visit), in a bid to halt a vicious war between him and some rebel barons.

It limited the power of the monarch, stated that the king must obey the law and not receive feudal payments, and most importantly, established human rights for everyone in England.

Among the original 63 clauses in the 1215 Magna Carta – many of which dealt with King John’s wrongdoings during his tyrannical reign – were the right to a fair trial by jury for all ‘free men’.

So when someone is granted a fair trial in this country (which does not happen everywhere), it’s thanks to the Magna Carta.

The original charter also included a clause demanding that people should be fined in proportion to their crime, so as not to threaten their livelihood.

3. It wasn’t known as the Magna Carta until 1217

The Magna Carta was originally drawn up as the Articles Of The Barons when King John signed it.

It only became known as The Magna Carta after the document had been annulled by the Pope, John had been killed in the Baron’s War and his nine-year-old heir, King Henry III, became king at the age of nine.

The name ‘Magna Carta’ means ‘Great Charter’, though the longer 1217 document had the original title ‘Magna Carta Libertatum’, which translates as ‘the Great Charter of the Liberties’.

4. Royals haven’t always followed its rules

The charter states that no monarch is above the law, stating: ‘If it was God’s law, then the king must be below it he must obey the law himself, as well as enforce it.’

However, that didn’t stop a number of monarchs ignoring it completely. Henry VIII continued to torture and kill his enemies with the help of Sir Thomas Cromwell his trusted advisor.

And his daughters Queen Elizabeth I and Bloody Mary didn’t exactly tow the line when it came to chopping and burning people either.

But luckily Princess Anne’s experiences in court, pleading guilty to speeding in 2001 and letting her dog attack two children in 2002, show that today no royal is above the law.

5. Women have the Magna Carta to thank for some early progress

While 21st-century feminists would be hard-pushed to reclaim this document as pro-women, it did enable widows to claim their full and fair inheritance.

Kind of astonishing they hadn’t been allowed to by that point.

It also prevented widows from being forced into second marriages against their wishes. An early recognition of women’s rights? Certainly.


Reader Interactions

Comments

John , I have read that the Library Of Congress in Washington, DC has a copy. Am I wrong?

They probably had one of the British Library’s original copies on loan for a bit.

Does the “There can be only Four” include the recent discovery of a copy [I forget where, I just remember it hitting my news feed in the last month or so…]?

The one that was found is not one of the originals – it’s a later version but still significant.

Proud to say I have seen all four remaining originals at the British Library, Salisbury Cathedral and Lincoln Castle. You MUST go to the British library if you haven’t been, an amazing collection of historic documents.


Facts about Magna Carta 7: Edward I

Edward I was the son of Henry III who also reissued the document in 1297. At that time, Magna Charta became the statute law of England.

Facts about Magna Carta 8: the importance of Magna Carta

Magna Carta has the important status in the history of English monarchy. Each monarch in turn renewed Magna Carta.


7 Things to Know About the Magna Carta

F or legal scholars, constitutional enthusiasts, and the United Kingdom, Monday is a special day: it’s the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta.

A “Great Charter” signed between the King of England and the English nobility in the year 1215, the Magna Carta limited the power of the throne and was the first significant limit placed on governmental authority.

1. King John of England signed the Magna Carta in a field
Under pressure from a group of some forty English barons unhappy with the crown’s excessive taxation, King John agreed to affix his seal to the charter at Runnymede, near Windsor. The site is still a field today, part of National Trust land on the banks of the River Thames.

2. The document was originally written on calfskin
Like many writings in the pre-paper period, the 3,500-word agreement was originally written on vellum, or calfskin parchment. The document itself had a preamble and 63 clauses, and was written in Latin.

3. It established due process
In perhaps its most enduring legacy, the Magna Carta mandated that no man be imprisoned, stripped of his possessions or exiled “except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land.” Basically, it said the king can’t arbitrarily imprison someone just because he’s in a bad mood. The government must act according to its own laws. That was a huge step toward establishing the modern legal and justice system. In 1297, the charter was counted as part of England’s statute law, and it’s now seen as the basis for the American Constitution and Bill of Rights.

4. But it didn’t last long
King John had the Magna Carta annulled by the Vatican within a few months of its signing, and the rebellious barons excommunicated by the church. When Henry III reissued the document ten years later, he whittled it down to 27 clauses from 69 &mdash and today, just three of its original clauses remain part of English law

5. And it really had nothing to do with democracy
The Magna Carta was really about the barons of England protecting their own legal rights, and there was no concept at the time of protecting the rights of your average Englander. It was a case of the rich and powerful protecting themselves from the slightly more rich and powerful.


Robin Hood and the Magna Carta

The legend of Robin Hood rose out of the chaos of the reign of King John of England, during the early thirteenth century. Upon the death of Henry II in 1189, his third son, Richard who would be known as the Lionheart, awarded lands to his brother John, including those of Sherwood Forest.

Richard and John feuded during Richard’s reign and the feud continued with Richard’s regent while he was on crusade. Due to the extravagant lifestyle of John and the court, the cost of Richard’s participation in the Third Crusade, the ransom paid for his release from Duke Leopold of Austria, and Richard’s continual struggle to regain lands lost in France, the royal coffers were bare. John, the fourth son of King Henry II, became king upon the death of Richard the Lionheart in 1199. Richard had spent less than six months on English soil as its king.

John’s continuous demands for money and his failed invasion in Normandy in 1209 contributed to the English nobles uniting against him. As part of the negotiations to avert civil war, John agreed to the provisions contained in the Magna Carta.

The Magna Carta was signed at Runnymede on June 15, 1215. The document was the first instance where the king of England agreed to be subject to the laws of the land. Although not originally proposed as a bill of rights for the common man, two of its provisions became so with time and were reflected in the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution–

  • No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions … except by the lawful judgement of his peers.
  • To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice.

A copy of the Magna Carta (c. 1297) is on display at the National Archives click here for a translated copy. The British National Archives has a copy dated 1225, signed by Henry III.


The Ridiculous World of Magna Carta Kitsch

Famous stick-in-the-mud Oliver Cromwell may have once dismissed the Magna Carta as “Magna Farta”, but for most of the rest of world, the document remains a touchstone of modern democracy. Its import and resonance is no more evident than in the staggering amount of Magna Carta tchotchkes available to purchase – everything from iPhone cases to tote bags are emblazoned with the bunched-up, Medieval print, an abbreviated form of Latin that even scholars have a hard time making out. And with the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the talismanic charter approaching in June, the floodgates have well and truly opened.

Related Content

Whether or not the Magna Carta is precisely worthy of this absolute worship in the form of souvenirs is debatable. After all, while the Magna Carta did, for the first time, force the king to be subject to his own laws, it was largely a stopgap response to a political crisis, not a statement of fundamental rights. Its immediate beneficiaries were a bunch of wealthy barons, and when it speaks of “free men,” it’s mostly these guys being referred to. Even so, what began with the Magna Carta has gathered momentum in the intervening 800 years, snowballing into concrete efforts to codify and enshrine human rights. And what better way to celebrate that than through merchandising?

Rulers of Law, Magnet Cartas, and snacks 

This is what history tastes like. (British Library Shop)

The British Library’s new exhibition, “Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy,” brings together the four surviving 1215 Magna Cartas under one roof, using the occasion to explore the real meaning and context of the iconic text. It will also prove an excellent opportunity to sell stuff. The Library’s gift shop is already doing a brisk trade in Magna Carta-themed items including, but certainly not limited to: Rulers (the Library’s website describes the rulers as “striking”, which seems like a joke) erasers pencils leather bookmarks ceramic buttons magnets (obviously) and, most excitingly, “traditional British handmade vanilla fudge”, probably best accompanied by the special edition Magna Carta mead (get it? Runny-mead? Where King John was forced to agree to the Magna Carta?), served chilled in one of their Magna Carta 1215 silver beer steins (you can rest it on this 1215 Magna Carta drinks coaster). Justice never tasted so good. 

For babies and dogs 

Forget classical music, the secret to a cultured baby is a Magna Carta pacifier. (Zazzle.com)

Notably, the Magna Carta does not guarantee the right to free speech, not even for babies, so these pacifiers bearing the fine print of a 1215 Magna Carta are fairly appropriate. Then there’s this adorable onesie, proclaiming to all and sundry that your offspring believes in rule of law (despite what feels like all other evidence to the contrary.) Or this somewhat less appropriate for babies one, featuring a cartoon king and queen in chains and the punchline, “I didn’t know the Magna Carta had small print!”. Children, by the way, are only mentioned briefly in the Magna Carta, as heirs: Clause 11, for example, reads, “If he leaves children that are under age, their needs may also be provided for on a scale appropriate to the size of his holding of lands.” As for dogs, they’re not mentioned at all, but don’t let that stop you from buying your furry friend this fine dog shirt. 

For the kids

For all its confusing aspects, the story of the Magna Carta is a fairly fun thing to explain to children. This is in large part due to the fact that it has an excellent villain, in the form of King John, a figure who presents a great opportunity for kids to learn a expand their vocabulary of pejorative terms. Case in point, what Ladybird, publishers of fine children’s books, has to say about him in their history book, King John and Magna Carta

“King John was probably the worst king to ever mount the throne of England. He was cruel and treacherous, a boastful coward mean and deceitful as a man, utterly untrustworthy as a king. He died loathed by everyone who knew him regretted by none.” 

Ouch. That comes from the publisher’s 1969 version of its King John story, featuring a swarthy, shifty-looking King John being dressed down by a baron on the cover the book is being reissued in all its vintage kitsch glory this year in celebration of the anniversary. 

For the Magna Hater

Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector and dictator of the short-lived Commonwealth of England in the 1650s, would probably have loved this Magna Carta dartboard – if he hadn’t outlawed all fun, including but certainly not limited to games. The board comes with six darts: Three American flag themed, three Union Jack themed, which must mean something. 

I Heart Magna Cartas

No better way to show your support for the groundbreaking document than sporting this mantra. (Zazzle.com)

You can buy virtually anything you want with the faintly bizarre claim “I Heart Magna Cartas” on it, from iPhone cases and t-shirts to baby onesies and stickers. “Magna Cartas” may have a strange ring to it, but it’s actually more accurate than the designers of these fine products probably knew: The 1215 Magna Carta was issued in as many as 41 copies, one for each shire and the Cinque Ports following that, there were re-issuings of the Great Charter in 1216, 1217, 1225, and 1297. Magna Cartas indeed.

The tea towels

A very British tchotchke: the Magna Carta tea towel. (Magna Carta Barons Association)

It would not be a British event without commemorative tea towels and with this, the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, you have your pick of designs. You could be wiping your hands on the heralds of the rebellious Magna Carta barons, Hereford Cathedral’s 1217 version, a 1215 version with the official Magna Carta 800 logo, or a another 1215 version.

For people with a lot of money

Living large like a Magna Carta baron (before King John came round to take all your money, that is)? Then perhaps you need a sterling silver Magna Carta celebration goblet, 𧿓. Or this limited edition, highly detailed facsimile of a 1215 Magna Carta, just �? Or this shiny silver Magna Carta money clip, 䀆? Or maybe you should just go all out and buy the ultimate Magna Carta souvenir: A 1297 copy of the Magna Carta. David Rubenstein, private equity billionaire and a member of the Smithsonian’s Board of Regents, bought a 1297 copy of the Magna Carta, bearing the wax seal of Edward I, in 2007 at a Sotheby’s auction for $21.3 million. Rubenstein loaned the document to the National Archives in Washington, D.C., where it lives now. 

The misleading uncirculated ٠ coin

A commemorative coin by the Royal Mint continues to perpetuate a Magna Carta myth that's just a little misleading. (Royal Mint)

This year, the Royal Mint is issuing a commemorative ٠ coin. The coin won’t be circulated, but it’s still doing a good job of perpetuating one of the great myths of the Magna Carta – the idea that King John actually sat down and put quill to parchment at Runnymede. The coin features what British newspapers gleefully dubbed a “schoolboy error,” John posed with a quill in his hand. John categorically did not sign anything at all at Runnymede – there’s no evidence that he could even write, for one thing, and for another, his signature would not have held any authority. Rather, John’s seal, the physical evidence of his power, would have been applied to the copies of the Charter before they were sent out, authenticating them. 


10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Due Process

As September 25th approaches and with it the first annual National Due Process Day, process servers and legal professionals across the country are spreading the word and getting ready to celebrate. Most process servers know exactly what aspect of due process their professions are protecting, but there are a lot of things in the history and specifics of the Constitution that you might find surprising.

Here are 10 things you probably didn&rsquot know about due process:

  1. Due process was developed from clause 39 of the Magna Carta in England.
    It was derived from the following passage: No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land.
  2. Though due process is still upheld in the U.S., it no longer exists in England.
    When English and American law diverged, due process was upheld by the United States but not in England. Though similar concepts still exist in what&rsquos known as natural justice and rule of law, neither English concept compares exactly with American due process.
  3. Due process provides four basic protections:
    - Procedural due process
    - Substantive due process
    - A prohibition against vague laws
    - the vehicle for the incorporation of the Bill of Rights
  4. If the average citizen cannot understand a law, it is deemed void due to vagueness, a protection that falls under due process of law.
    Essentially, if the average citizen of the United States can&rsquot understand who a law is regulating, what conduct or actions it is prohibiting, or what punishment they might incur, the law is rendered void. Essentially, if the law isn&rsquot written in a way that the average person can understand, it is depriving citizens of their due process rights.
  5. Substantive due process overlaps protection with several other amendments.
    Substantive Due Process (from the Fourteenth Amendment) overlaps the rights in the first eight amendments, further protecting voting rights, free speech, and other laws. Essentially, substantive due process protects fundamental rights.
  6. New York State asked Congress to add due process to the Constitution.
    New York asked Congress to add a due process clause to the Constitution and was the only state to do so. In 1788, the state proposed the following wording: No Person ought to be taken imprisoned or diseased of his freehold, or be exiled or deprived of his Privileges, Franchises, Life, Liberty, or Property but by due process of Law.

Fun facts aside, process servers play a fundamental role in protecting every citizen&rsquos due process rights. Don&rsquot forget to join your peers and others in the legal profession in celebrating this important right. For valuable resources, more information, and to embed the National Due Process Day badge on your site, visit the National Due Process Day Page.


2015 was the 800th anniversary of the first issuing of Magna Carta. To coincide with this, new academic works on the subject were published and events held to mark the anniversary. [2] Starkey presented a one-hour BBC documentary on Magna Carta, [1] and it was accompanied by a book published by Hodder and Stoughton. [2]

In the documentary, Starkey argues that Magna Carta is a foundational stone of the rule of law and a basis constitutions because he believes states tends towards being "arrogance, corruption and conflict with its people", while the citizens tend towards being “disorderly, irrational and bloody-minded”. Starkey writes that Magna Carta is essential in keeping peace and constraints on the state and the citizen population and says that it is this rather shaky 800 year old document that has led to a "constitutional edifice" developing in the UK. [1]

Starkey starts by describing the origins of Magna Carta. He tells the story of the warring parties and the fight involved in the creation and writing of the charter. He argues that the story of the birth of English constitutional government is much murkier and more complicated than the general view that it had been born at Runnymede on 15 June 1215. Nevertheless, Starkey writes that this symbolised a great English capacity to find peaceful compromise in politics. [3]

The book mostly focuses on telling the story behind the charter, how the barons forced King John to seal the charter. The story follows the differences between the original Magna Carta of 1215 and the subsequent Magna Carta of November 1216 which followed the death of King John a month before. [4]

Starkey concludes the book by writing about his views on the political implications of Magna Carta in present day politics. He believes that the modern UK state appears to be fragmenting and would be helped by the core principles of the charter with a new charter of liberties or a new William Marshal figure. [5] [6]

The book received positive and negative feedback. Gerard DeGroot of The Times reviewed the book favourably, saying that Starkey is "a perceptive historian with a populist's ability to communicate. admirable for its lucidity and brevity this book is all that most people will need to know about the epochal charter and its legacy. Starkey also has the courage and imagination to interpret Magna Carta in a manner that has profound meaning for the world of today." [3]

Dan Jones in the Mail on Sunday also reviewed the book positively. He wrote that "his is a soaring account of the months that transformed a messy feudal squabble into Magna Carta, a document of transcendent historical importance in the English-speaking world. It is a reminder that, when Starkey flexes his historical muscles, he is a mighty impressive scholar. And his crisp storytelling, based around short chapters and rolling rhetoric, is extremely entertaining." [7]

Another reviewer, Frank MacGabhann of The Irish Times was very positive about the book, saying that is was "scholarly yet accessible. Analytical yet clear, it is a pleasure to read." [4]

In Speculum, medieval historian James Masschaele took a more critical review. He noted that while Starkey's 2015 book aimed to be "a short and lively account of the key events" Masschaele concluded that "A short and accessible introduction to Magna Carta suitable for lower-level undergraduate survey courses would certainly be a welcome addition to the literature, but on balance it is hard to view Starkey’s book as an entirely satisfactory option in this regard." Starkey's book included "anachronistic turns of phrase" and the review criticised Starkey's understanding of the barons as republicans and his "jarring screed against modern society". [2]

Another more critical view on the book was Marcus Tanner of The Independent. He was particularly critical of its closing chapters which he found far less persuasive than the rest of the book. This pertained to Starkey's view that the present British state is fragmenting and needed another William Marshal. Tanner contested this point, arguing that the problem in 1215 was the over-concentration of power in one person, which is not the case in present day politics. Tanner argued on the contrary that he believed the real problem nowadays is that nobody knows who is actually in power, whether it is big corporations or parliament or the EU. This, he argued is exemplified by the fact that so many people think voting is pointless because it won't make a difference, due to power being so distributed in modern politics. [5]


Fish weirs, Doctor Who and Fort Knox – things you didn’t know about Magna Carta

In the last in a series of videos celebrating 800 years of Magna Carta, TV historian David Starkey reveals that a host of US states still include the historic document in their constitution – including a reference to fish weirs on the Medway and Thames – while other fascinating facts linked to the charter feature Fort Knox and Doctor Who.


Here are 10 more things you might not know about the historic document.

1 – Magna Carta was written on parchment, which was made from dried sheepskin.

2 – The scribes who produced the charter abbreviated words to save space on the parchment.

3 – Lincoln Cathedral’s copy of Magna Carta was on display in New York when the Second World War began and then spent nearly six years locked in Fort Knox.

4 – Lisa Simpson sang a song about Magna Carta in episode 187 of The Simpsons cartoon series.

5 – In July, 2013, rapper Jay-Z exhibited the cover art for his album Magna Carta…Holy Grail in Salisbury Cathedral, next to one of the surviving copies of the document.

6 – When Nelson Mandela stood trial in 1964, he cited Magna Carta clauses 39 and 40 in his defence – arguing for the necessity of ensuring the “independence and impartiality” of any judicial system.

7 – In 2007, a copy of Magna Carta dating from 1297 sold at auction for £10.6 million.

8 – Less than a year after sealing Magna Carta King John died from food poisoning.

9 – Oliver Cromwell reportedly referred to Magna Carta as “Magna Farta”.

10 – The sealing of Magna Carta featured in a 1983 episode of Doctor Who.