Monday, 10 August 2009
There are four original copies of Magna Carta left in the world, and these have recently been granted World Heritage Status, being admitted by Unesco to the Memory of the World Register in recognition of their value to social liberty. The best preserved copy is kept in Salisbury Cathedral; the British Library has two, and Lincoln Cathedral the fourth. King John was forced to sign Magna Carta, which limited the power of the monarchy and established the principle that the law must stand even above the king, at Runnymede, near Windsor, in 1215. Here is a brief extract: "No free man shall be taken or imprisoned or dispossessed, or outlawed, or banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon him, nor send upon him, except by the legal judgement of his peers or by the law of the land. To no one will we sell, to no one will we deny, or delay, right or justice".