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Magna Carta Lincoln


This year, the beautiful and historic city of Lincoln is celebrating eight hundred years since the first Great Charter, or Magna Carta, was signed to limit the powers of the monarchy and uphold the rights of the individual.

Handwritten ‘engrossments’ of the charter were endorsed with the seal of King John – rather than actually signed by the monarch - on the Isle of Runnymede in 1215, in the presence of a group of rebellious barons. These were distributed to a number of religious houses, and Bishop Hugh of Wells brought back the ‘LINCOLNIA’ copy to Lincoln Cathedral. This is now one of only four surviving original animal skin parchments.               
The Charter secured the liberties of ‘free men’, i.e. knights and barons, rather than peasants and vassals, but nonetheless is seen to have laid the foundation stone of liberty and democracy. Sections cover the ownership of money and property, the right to trial by jury, the freedom of the church from the interference of the king.

The Magna Carta is on UNESCO’s Memory of the World register and even influenced America’s Bill of Rights and Constitution, so this significant document is a powerful symbol of freedom on both sides of the Atlantic.

Come and see the Magna Carta for yourself!

Until recently, the Lincoln copy of the Magna Carta was kept in a cabinet in Lincoln Cathedral.
However, thanks to funding from the David Ross Foundation, a new exhibition centre has been built within the grounds of Lincoln Castle with a temperature and humidity-controlled vault to house the Magna Carta, together with one of only two surviving copies of the Charter of the Forest, which was issued in 1217 as supplementary legislation.

All of the words of the Magna Carta are embossed on a wall near the entrance to the centre with those sentences still relevant today, picked out in gold.

Within the centre is a fabulous curved 210 degree ‘wraparound’ screen in a full-height cinematic auditorium with 3D surround sound. Here, visitors will be able to see two educational films, suitable for both adults and children, by Centre Screen Productions:
Magna Carta: Challenging the Power of a King - a dramatic reconstruction of events leading up to the sealing of Magna Carta in 1215.
Magna Carta: Meaning and Myth - a fresh look at the significance of the charter down the ages.

Take home your own piece of history!

While you’re in Lincoln, why not make the short trip north of the historic quarter to visit Hemswell Antique Centres? We’re only 15 minutes away! In the decommissioned buildings on a former WWII RAF Lancaster bomber base, 400 antique dealers bring together their objects and expertise to make Hemswell the largest antiques centre in Europe!

There is something for every taste and budget; from solid pieces of furniture to exquisite items of jewellery, paintings and prints to china and glass, classic timepieces to out-of-print books, mirrors to militaria, vintage clothing to reclaimed garden architecture.

Feel free to come and browse. Our staff will make you welcome and show you any piece which you would like to examine in more detail. The Magna Carta sets you free to ‘live a little’ and we look forward to seeing you!

For more information on travelling to Lincoln, where to stay, places to eat and things to see and do, go to:

For more information on the Magna Carta exhibition at Lincoln Castle go to:

For more information on the David Ross Foundation go to:

For more information on events to celebrate the 800th Centenary of the Magna Carte go to:

For more information on Centre Screen Productions go to:

And for more information on Hemswell Antiques, just stay here awhile and browse our site:

Remember - stock is constantly being refreshed, so if you visit us in person there is always some new treasure to be found!

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