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June 2, 2015

Royal Mail issues Magna Carta stamps to commemorate 800th Anniversary

A new stamp set also pays tribute to other bills declarations inspired by Magna Carta.

Royal Mail has issued Special Stamps to mark the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta.

Royal Mail worked closely with the Magna Carta 800th Committee to produce six stamps to celebrate the Magna Carta itself and other landmark bills and declarations from which the rule of law developed throughout history and across the world.

As well as reproducing key texts from Magna Carta, the other stamps mark the 750th anniversary of Simon de Montfort’s Parliament, the Bill of Rights, the American Bill of Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Charter of the Commonwealth.

The Magna Carta was the Charter of Liberties that King John granted at Runnymede on 15 June 1215.

The issuing of the Special Stamps and the signing of the Magna Carta will also be recognised with two special postmarks from 2-6 June and on 15 June.

Royal Mail vans in the 12 Magna Carta towns will feature the Magna Carta stamp.

The stamps will be on sale from 2 June 2015 at www.royalmail.com/magnacarta and from 8,000 Post Office branches across the UK.

Royal Mail worked closely with the Magna Carta 800th Committee to produce a six-stamp set commemorating Magna Carta itself, as well as major charters, bills and declarations that have developed the rule of law in the centuries since around the world.

Meaning ‘The Great Charter’, it was reluctantly granted by King John of England in Runnymede on 15 June 1215, as a practical solution to the political crisis he faced. Written in Latin on a single parchment and comprising a total of 63 clauses, the Magna Carta established for the first time, that the King was subject to the law rather than above it. By its terms, the King was committed to upholding the Rule of Law and ensuring that justice was done equally to every free man “by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land”.

Sir Robert Worcester, Chairman, Magna Carta 800th Committee, said: “The relevance of the Magna Carta in the 21st century is that it is the foundation of liberty. I am delighted that Royal Mail has marked this landmark document, and other key bills and declarations it inspired, with these striking stamps. It is fitting that they will be seen by people all around the world.”

Andrew Hammond, Director, Stamps and Collectibles, Royal Mail said: “The legacy of Magna Carta has been far-reaching. The Charter’s unique status as a fundamental text, guaranteeing freedom under the law, has been the inspiration for many key charters, bills and declarations which have become milestones in the development of the rule of law throughout history and across the world.”

The issuing of the Special Stamps set and the sealing of the Magna Carta will also be recognised with two special postmarks which will be applied to all stamped mail across the UK. The Special Stamps postmark will run from Tuesday 2 June to Friday 6 June and will say ‘Magna Carta stamps – Commemorating the foundation of liberty’. While the second will appear on Monday 15 June and will say; ‘Magna Carta 800th anniversary’.

There are 12 towns linked to the story of the Magna Carta unfolding and Royal Mail vans these in towns will feature a stamp from the set. The towns are: Runnymede; Faversham; Durham; Canterbury; Sandwich; Bury St Edmunds; St Albans; Salisbury; Oxford; City of London; Lincoln and Hereford.

Stamp-by-stamp

Simon de Montfort’s Parliament, 1265
Simon de Montfort’s parliament of January 1265 was the first to which the burgesses, the representatives of the towns, were summoned. De Montfort, a French political adventurer who had come to England in 1231 having inherited the earldom of Leicester, was the leader of the baronial opposition to King Henry III. In May 1264, he inflicted a massive defeat on the royalists at the Battle of Lewes, capturing both the king and his son. His radicalism, however, alienated most of the higher nobility, the leading men in the realm, and to compensate for their loss of support, he turned to the gentry and leading townsmen. In 1264, he summoned a parliament to which he gave orders that knights from the shires be elected. In the following year, in an initiative which acknowledged the growing importance of the towns, he went further by arranging for the election of burgesses. Together, these groups were to form the nucleus of the future House of Commons. De Montfort used parliaments both to promote his policies and to seek popular backing for them. His initiative in widening parliamentary representation was to survive his death in battle at Evesham in August 1265. In the reign of Henry III’s son, Edward I, the presence of the knights and burgesses was to become established, and their presence was required whenever the king sought assent to taxation.

Bill of Rights, 1689
The Bill of Rights, approved in December 1689, restated in statutory form the Declaration of Right presented by parliament to King William III and Queen Mary, in the wake of James II’s deposition in the previous year. Drawing on the political thinking of the philosopher John Locke, and following in the path of Magna Carta, the Bill laid down certain fundamental personal liberties, chief among them no royal interference with the law, no taxation by royal prerogative, freedom to petition the monarch and freedom of speech in parliament. Along with the other enactments of the years 1689 to 1701, the Bill successfully established the principle of parliamentary sovereignty in England.

American Bill of Rights, 1791
The Bill of Rights is the collective name given to the first ten amendments to the American constitution, approved in 1791. With the aim of entrenching the rights of the individual, neglected in the constitution, they guaranteed freedom of religion and speech, the liberty of the press, the right to petition and bear arms, and immunity against arbitrary search and arrest and excessive punishment. The tenth amendment reserved to the states all powers except those specifically delegated to the federal government. The indebtedness of the Bill of Rights to Magna Carta is especially clear in the wording of the fifth amendment, which promised that no person shall be “deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law”, echoing the Charter’s 39th clause.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948
The Declaration was adopted by the United Nations in 1948 in response to the horrors of war and represents the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are entitled. The first chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights, which was charged with drafting the Declaration, was Eleanor Roosevelt. The Declaration’s provisions fall into four main groups. The first affirms the rights of the individual, such as the right to life; the second, the rights of the individual in civil society, such as the right to own property and to marry; the third, such essential freedoms as freedom of association, thought and religion; and the fourth, social, economic and cultural rights, such as the right to work and enjoy leisure. While the Declaration is not a treaty, it forms the foundation of many national and international laws, and acts as a tool in applying pressure on governments that violate its terms.

Charter of the Commonwealth, 2013
The Charter of the Commonwealth, a document setting out the core values of the member states of the Commonwealth of Nations, was adopted in December 2012 and officially signed by Her Majesty the Queen in March the following year. It enshrines commitments to: participatory democracy; human rights; international peace and security; tolerance and understanding; freedom of expression; separation of judicial and governmental powers; good governance and the rule of law; sustainable development; protecting the environment; access to health, education, food and shelter; gender equality; the active involvement of young people; recognising the needs of small and vulnerable states; and the role of civil society.

For more information contact:
Natasha Ayivor
Royal Mail Press Office
100 Victoria Embankment
London EC4Y 0HQ
Tel: 020 7449 8250
Mobile: 07436 280 002
Email: [email protected]
www.royalmail.com/stamps

About Royal Mail plc
For 50 years Royal Mail’s Special Stamp programme has commemorated and celebrated events and anniversaries pertinent to UK heritage and life. Today, there are an estimated 2.5 million stamp collectors and gifters in the UK and millions worldwide. Her Majesty the Queen approves all UK stamp designs before they are printed.

April 21, 2015

BBC: Copy of Magna Carta for every UK primary school

The BBC
By Judith Burns, Education reporter
21st April, 2015.
Click here to read the original article.

Every primary school in the UK is to be sent a copy of Magna Carta to help pupils learn how the document forms the basis of many modern freedoms.

The aim is to explain the legacy of Magna Carta, as the 800th anniversary nears of its sealing by King John.

The charter is considered a cornerstone of the British constitution.

This is an “epic narrative that continues to shape our world”, said Sir Robert Worcester, chairman of the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Committee.

As well as a copy of the document, the schools will receive two young person’s guides to Magna Carta, explaining its significance to current political events.

These are a timeline wall-chart and a tabloid-style newspaper called the Magna Carta Chronicle, which together set out the history of the past 800 years in “the fight for freedom and rights”.

The initiative, led by the Magna Carta Trust and funded by charitable donations to the 800th Anniversary Committee, is part of ongoing celebrations of the document.

Magna Carta was sealed by King John on 15 June 1215, forced by a group of rebellious barons.

It was the first formal document to limit the power of the King, stating that a King had to follow the laws of the land and guaranteeing the rights of individuals.

It laid the foundations of trial by jury and of Parliament.

Sir Robert said the initiative would give young people the chance to learn more about the history and significance of Magna Carta.

“The fight for freedom and rights and the rule of law is a global story but one that should be extra special to everyone living in the UK, since its origins and dramas – from the freedom to choose our rulers and religion, to equality of opportunity and the right to live without fear of unlawful imprisonment – are so inextricably linked to the history of Britain itself,” he said.

“All these, and many other freedoms, are charted in this unique young person’s guide in a highly accessible and visually stunning style which all began when the will of the King was first challenged by 25 barons in the water meadow at Runnymede on 15 June 1215.”

Christopher Lloyd of publishers What on Earth? designed and wrote the guides in collaboration with illustrator Andy Forshaw.

The guides link Magna Carta with modern struggles for freedoms and rights, for example Malala Yousafzai’s campaign for the right of girls across the globe to an education.

Mr Lloyd said the aim had been to connect “the fragment of history of the signing of Magna Carta on a piece of parchment and put it into the context of an 800-year story”.

He said he wanted the timeline to be like the thread of a necklace with historic moments, which saw modern liberties and freedoms gradually developed over 800 years, like beads on the thread.

The pack will be sent out to all the UK’s 21,000 state primary schools later in April.

The publishers have also provided a series of free online lesson plans and activities.

Click here for more information about the Magna Carta Chronicle.

Magna Carta guidebook and timeline donated to 21,000 UK primary schools

Every primary school in Britain is to receive a souvenir copy of Magna Carta along with a time-line wallchart and newspaper chronicle charting 800 years in the fight for freedom and rights.

The bold initiative, funded by charitable donations to the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Committee, will help teachers and pupils learn about the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta on 15th June 1215 by bad King John.

Sir Robert Worcester, Chairman of the Magna Carta 800th Committee, said this year marks the best opportunity in a century to present young people with an epic narrative that continues to shape our world.

The fight for freedom and rights and the rule of law is a global story, but one that should be extra special to everyone living in the UK since its origins and dramas – from the freedom to choose our rulers and religion to equality of opportunity and the right to live without fear of unlawful imprisonment – are so inextricably linked to the history of Britain itself,” he said.

All these, and many other freedoms, are charted in this unique young person’s guide in a highly accessible and visually stunning style which all began when the will of the King was first challenged by 25 barons in the watermeadow at Runnymede on June 15th, 1215.”

The Magna Carta Chronicle is the official young person’s guide to this year’s 800th anniversary commemorations. Its creator, world history author and educationalist Christopher Lloyd, said the book had been specially designed and illustrated by timeline artist Andy Forshaw to make the 800-year story accessible and exciting for younger people – as well as for teachers, parents and people of all ages.

Few people carry an interconnected narrative of the past around in their heads because history has not been taught in schools this way for several generations. That’s why important stories such as how we have come to enjoy today’s liberties and freedoms can so easily get lost,” he said.

The Magna Carta Chronicle includes more than 45 tabloid newspaper stories so that the events of 800 years read as if they happened yesterday – making them easy and fun for anyone of any age to read.

A two metre long fold-out timeline charts nearly 100 moments from the laws of Hammurabi to the terrible experience of Malala Yousafzai after her attempted assassination by terrorists simply for daring to go to school.

Her story reminds us that the freedom and rights we enjoy to day will still have to be fought for by future generations. We cannot just leave them to the legacy of people in the past. That’s why making these stories accessible to younger people today matters so much,” said Lloyd.

A souvenir facsimile copy of the 1215 edition of Magna Carta, now housed at Salisbury Cathedral, has been reproduced on the back of the Magna Carta Chronicle timeline so that schools can hang up it up on classroom walls. It comes with simple annotations that explain the key clauses in the document that are the foundation stones of liberty and the rule of law throughout many parts of the world today.

A further 50 copies of the Chronicle will be prizes on a social media quiz from 22nd April – follow @magnacarta800th on twitter for more details and to take part.

NOTES TO EDITORS

Copies of the Magna Carta Chronicle will be sent out to the head teachers of all UK primary schools beginning in the last week of April and first week of May, 2015. A selection of curriculum-mapped activities, lesson plans and worksheets that integrate the Magna Carta Chronicle across History, Citizenship, Literacy and Art in Key Stages 2 and 3 are available to download free at www.whatonearthbooks.com/magnacarta.

For press enquiries or for a review copy of the Magna Carta Chronicle please contact Louise Walker on 07882 655416, 01474 815714 or [email protected] . For interview requests, please contact Christopher Lloyd (07760 289589) or Sir Robert Worcester (07974 812723).

About the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Committee.

The Magna Carta Trust’s 800th Anniversary Commemoration Committee is co-ordinating the 800th centenary commemorations of Magna Carta. Its chairman, Sir Robert Worcester, was the founder of MORI (Market & Opinion Research International Ltd). He was Chancellor of the University of Kent from 2007 to 2014. He is also vice president of the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, the United Nations Association and is a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Kent.

About Christopher Lloyd

Christopher Lloyd has written numerous books on world history including the best-selling What on Earth Happened? The Complete Guide to Planet, Life and People from the Big Bang to the Present Day (Bloomsbury 2008) now translated into 15 languages worldwide. In 2010 he established the publishing house What on Earth Publishing, specialists in art of telling stories through timelines, with illustrator Andy Forshaw. They have since created a series of FIVE timeline titles covering Big History, Nature, Sport, Science and Shakespeare in partnership with the Natural History Museum, Science Museum and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Christopher lectures all over the world in museums, schools and festivals connecting the curriculum together to create a more holistic view of knowledge.

For more details visit www.whatonearthbooks.com or contact [email protected]

Magna Carta makes history with free copy for every primary

The Times Educational Supplement
21st April 2015,
By Helen Ward.
Click here to read the original article.

Primary schools across the UK are to be sent a copy of Magna Carta to help teach pupils about the legacy of the famous historic document during its 800th anniversary year.

Magna Carta, meaning the Great Charter, was a treaty agreed by King John in 1215 in a bid to make peace with a group of rebel barons. It set out the principle that nobody, even the king, was above the law and gave all free men the right to justice and a fair trial. It has been described as a cornerstone of the British constitution.

The Magna Carta Chronicle that will be sent to schools combines a souvenir copy of the charter, a fold-out timeline and more than 45 newspaper stories to allow pupils to read about the events of 800 years ago as if they happened yesterday.

The initiative, led by the Magna Carta Trust, is part of ongoing commemorations. Sir Robert Worcester, chairman of the committee, said the initiative was an opportunity for young people to learn about an “epic narrative that continues to shape our world”.

He said: “The fight for freedom and rights and the rule of law is a global story, but one that should be extra special to everyone living in the UK since its origins and dramas – from the freedom to choose our rulers and religion, to equality of opportunity and the right to live without fear of unlawful imprisonment – are so inextricably linked to the history of Britain itself.

“All these, and many other freedoms, are charted in this unique young person’s guide in a highly accessible and visually stunning style which all began when the will of the king was first challenged by 25 barons in the water meadow at Runnymede on 15 June 1215.”

Four copies of the original 1215 charter still exist. Two are held by the British Library, one by Lincoln Cathedral and one in Salisbury Cathedral.

Earlier this year, a 1300 copy of the charter was discovered in the Kent County Council’s archives in Maidstone. It is thought to be worth up to £10 million.

In 2011, former education secretary Michael Gove announced that a copy of the King James Bible would be sent to all schools to mark its 400th anniversary. The scheme was privately funded and the bibles were sent out in 2012.

Click here for more information about The Magna Carta Chronicle.

Magna Carta to Malala: primary schools to receive new ‘freedom’ guide

The Telegraph
By Anita Singh, 21 Apr 2015
Click here to read the original article.

Pupils are to learn how sealing of Magna Carta in 1215 continues to shape the world we live in.

Every primary school in Britain is to receive a souvenir copy of Magna Carta and a guide explaining the links between the historic document and such modern freedoms as the end of apartheid, legalisation of same-sex marriage and the Scottish referendum.

The guide, billed as “a young person’s guide to 800 years in the fight for freedom”, is written in the style of a tabloid newspaper in order to make the history lesson easily accessible.
It explains the legacy of Magna Carta, taking in the US declaration of independence, the abolition of slavery, suffragettes and the Civil Rights movement.

More recent events include the Leveson Inquiry, the Arab Spring, St Andrew’s golf club voting to accept women and Malala Yousef winning the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

Edward Snowden’s leak of classified US intelligence documents will be taught alongside news of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination and the Church of England’s vote ro ordain women as priests.
The project is being funded through charitable donations to the Magna Carta Trust, which counts the Queen as patron.

The 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta takes place on June 15. The Queen and Duke of Cambridge will attend a commemoration event at the site in Runnymede, Surrey, where the document was sealed.

Sir Robert Worcester, chairman of the Trust’s 800th Anniversary Committee, said this year represents the best opportunity to explain the events of 1215 to primary school children.

He said: “The fight for freedom and rights and the rule of law is a global story, but one that should be extra special to everyone living in the UK since its origins and dramas – from the freedom to choose our rulers and religion to equality of opportunity and the right to live without fear of unlawful imprisonment – are so inextricably linked to the history of Britain itself.

“Freedoms are being eroded faster than they can be won. That’s why it is vital to take the time to step back and look with wonder at what has been achieved over the last 800 years.”

The copy of Magna Carta is a facsimile of the document kept at Salisbury Cathedral, one of only four original copies.

The guide, called the Magna Carta Chronicle, has been written by Christopher Lloyd, who said: “Few people carry an interconnected narrative of the past around in their heads because history has not been taught in schools this way for several generations.

“That’s why important stories such as how we have come to enjoy today’s liberties and freedoms can so easily get lost.”

The Magna Carta Chronicle is published by What On Earth? priced £8.99. To order your copy call 0844 871 1514 or visit books.telegraph.co.uk

Click here for more information about the Magna Carta Chronicle.

The Magna Carta explained

By Telegraph Reporters and PA
21 Apr 2015
Click here to read the original article.

Every primary school in Britain is to receive a souvenir copy of Magna Carta. Here is a Q&A about the document.

The Magna Carta was granted 800 years ago. So what is it, how did it come about, and what does it do today?

• What is Magna Carta?
Magna Carta is an 800-year-old document containing the idea that no-one is above the law, and it still forms the foundation of many modern ideas and documents today.

• What does Magna Carta mean?
It means “Great Charter” in Latin. In fact the whole document is in Latin.

• When and where was Magna Carta granted?
Magna Carta was first drawn up in 1215, granted by King John on June 15 at Runnymede near the River Thames in Surrey. A different version (the one we draw from today) was reissued by John’s son, Henry III, 10 years later in 1225. Magna Carta was finally enrolled on the statute book (meaning it became part of English law) by Edward I in 1297.

• How many of the original Magna Carta documents survive?
King John sent copies of the first Magna Carta across his kingdom – though we are not certain about the actual number. Today only four survive: one in Lincoln Cathedral, one in Salisbury Cathedral, and two in the British Library.

• Why was Magna Carta first written and granted?
Despite what it stands for today, Magna Carta was not written with lofty ideas of justice and liberty in mind. It was originally meant as a peace treaty between King John (of Robin Hood fame) and his barons, with whom he was at war. The barons had captured London and John found himself in a political mess – he needed a quick get-out solution.

• Did Magna Carta achieve its short-term aims of creating peace?
Not at all – in fact it failed spectacularly. Although John agreed to Magna Carta at first, he quickly became bitter when its terms were forced upon him. He wrote to the Pope to get it annulled. The Pope actually happened to agree with John (for once), saying Magna Carta was “illegal, unjust, harmful to royal rights and shameful to the English people”. He then declared the charter “null and void of all validity for ever”.

Full-scale civil war then broke out between John and his barons. It only ended after John’s death from illness in 1216.

• Is it true that King John never “signed” Magna Carta?
Yes, at least not in the way we think of signing. Back in the Middle Ages kings never signed their name on documents to pass them into law. Instead John used his Great Seal to authenticate the document. This subtlety has confused many people over the years. Most recently the Royal Mint has been criticised for the design on its commemorative 800th anniversary £2 coin, which shows John brandishing the document and a quill.

• Why did John’s son reissue Magna Carta?
Henry III came to the throne aged just nine. A few days into his reign, important men around the young king issued a new version of Magna Carta to try to regain the barons’ support. When Henry reached 18 years old he reissued a greatly-revised version in his own name. This 1225 document was granted explicitly in return for a tax payment by the whole kingdom.

• How much of Magna Carta is relevant today?
The original Magna Carta had 63 clauses. A third of this text was either cut or rewritten for the 1225 version. Today, only three of the original 63 clauses remain on the statute books. Of these three survivors one defends the liberties and rights of the English Church, another confirms the liberties and customs of London and other towns, and the third gives all English subjects the right to justice and a fair trial.

There are some very good reasons the other 60 clauses have been dropped. Many are very specific to the Middle Ages – dealing with property ownership, the workings of the justice system, and taxes with no modern equivalent (“scutage” and “socage” anyone?)

Other clauses that we have dispensed with include a law banning fish weirs on rivers, the dismissal of specific individual royal servants, and the standardisation of weights and measures we do not use any more.

• How important is that clause about justice and a fair trial?
It is incredibly important today, but it was buried deep in the original document and made very little splash in 1215. Part of its success is its adaptability to all sorts of situations throughout the centuries.

If you were wondering what the actual text was, here it is (translated into modern English of course):

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. To no-one will we sell, to no-one deny or delay right or justice.”

That basically means the law belongs to everyone, not just the powerful. It is the bedrock of our society today.

• When has Magna Carta been used throughout the centuries?
In 1265 – just 40 years after Henry III’s final reissuing of Magna Carta – the relationship between the promises made by the king and the granting of taxation paved the way for the first English Parliament.

In the next century, Parliament interpreted Magna Carta as a right to a fair trial for all subjects.
During the Stuart period, and particularly in the English Civil War, Magna Carta was used to restrain the power of monarchs (at a time when monarchs on the continent were supremely powerful).
There are strong influences from Magna Carta in the American Bill of Rights (written in 1791). To this day there is a 1297 copy in the National Archives in Washington DC.

Even more recently, we can see the basic principles of Magna Carta very clearly in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – penned in 1948 just after the Second World War.

When King John stuck his seal on that parchment eight centuries ago, he could not possibly have known the magnitude of what he was doing.

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