Lincoln Magna Carta joins last surviving documents for the first time

Lincoln Cathedral’s original copy Magna Carta is helping make history by joining the other three surviving 1215 documents for the first time.

The charter is on the last leg of a 7,500-mile tour and will return to Lincoln in time for the re-opening of Lincoln Castle, after a £22 million restoration and Magna Carta vault installation.

Magna Carta is one of the world’s most influential documents – an agreement granted by King John in 1215 as a practical solution to a political crisis, which in the centuries since has become a potent symbol of liberty and the rule of law.

Lincoln Cathedral, the British Library, and Salisbury Cathedral are marking Monday, February 2 a day in history by bringing the four original surviving Magna Carta manuscripts together in one place, for the first time.

This unification event, sponsored by the global law firm Linklaters, takes place at the British Library for three days, and is part of a year of celebrations to mark the 800th anniversary of the issue of the charter.

Following the event, the manuscripts will travel to the House of Lords for one day on Thursday, February 5, before being separated again.

Lincoln’s Magna Carta will then take pride of place from April 2015 in the state-of-the-art David P J Ross Magna Carta Vault at Lincoln Castle.

The new underground vault will also display the 1217 Charter of the Forest and a related loan document on rotation.

It will mark the end of a cross-continent journey over the last few months for the Lincoln manuscript, stretching from the USA – where more than 200,000 people saw it on display in Massachusetts and Washington, DC – to the historic London event and back home to Lincolnshire.

Philip Buckler, Dean of Lincoln, said: “King John could surely never have anticipated the enduring global legacy of Magna Carta when he agreed to its terms in 1215. 800 years later, the international interest and excitement about this unification event is testament to the extraordinary significance and symbolic power of these four manuscripts.

“We are thrilled to be staging this moment in history together, at the start of the 800th anniversary year. This unique event marks the beginning of our own celebrations in 2015 with the opening in April of Lincoln Castle Revealed as well as events throughout the year in the Cathedral and across Lincoln.”

Lincoln Cathedral has worked in partnership with Lincoln Castle on the new exhibition.

From April 2015, a special joint attraction ticket will be available combining entry to both the Cathedral and Castle.