Skip to Content

Magna Carta Through the Ages

26 May – 31 July | Free Exhibition
Society of Antiquaries of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London

As part of the celebrations to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, the Society of Antiquaries will be staging a special exhibition where visitors will have the unique opportunity to see its three copies of the charter. The exhibition Magna Carta Through the Ages will be on display from 26 May to 30 July 2015 at the Society’s premises in Burlington House, London.

The exhibition will explore the antiquarian interest in the charter through the centuries and the Society’s three copies will show the ways in which Magna Carta has continued to be relevant to successive generations.

Find out more at

This exhibition has been made possible by the generous support of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the Headley Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund, Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Committee and the Ruddock Foundation for the Arts.

Magna Carta Public Lecture Series at the Society of Antiquaries of London

26 May – 30 June | Free Admission
Society of Antiquaries of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London

Corresponding with its exhibition, the Society of Antiquaries will also host a six-week public lecture series.
The lectures aim to place Magna Carta in its continuing historical context. The sealing of the charter in 1215 is a historically significant date, but recognition of the anniversary does not reveal why Magna Carta has remained relevant for successive generations through to our modern age. The Society has prepared six lectures from leading historians to help explain the impact of Magna Carta around the world through the ages.

Lecture Programme

All lectures will be held from 13.00 to 14.00 at the Society of Antiquaries of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BE.

Lectures are free and open to the public. However, space is limited and advanced registration is recommended to avoid disappointment. Call 020 7479 7080, email [email protected], or visit to make a reservation.

26 May 2015

‘The Context of Magna Carta’, by Stephen Church, FSA, Professor of Medieval History (University of East Anglia).
Reserve your seat here.

2 June 2015

‘Henry III and Magna Carta 1225’, by David Carpenter, Professor of Medieval History (King’s College London).
Reserve your seat here.

9 June 2015

‘Magna Carta in its European Context’, by Susan Reynolds, Emerita Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall Oxford and Hon Fellow of the IHR.
Reserve your seat here.

16 June 2015

‘Magna Carta in the 17th Century’, by Justin Champion (Royal Holloway College).
Reserve your seat here.

23 June 2015

‘Magna Carta and the American Constitution’, by Linda Colley, CBE, FBA, FRSL, Shelby M.C. Davis 1958 Professor of History (Princeton).
Reserve your seat here.

30 June 2015

‘Modern Constitutionalism and the Myths of Magna Carta’, by Vernon Bogdanor, Research Professor (Institute for Contemporary British History, King’s College London).
Reserve your seat here.


The Magna Carta collection:

The Society is the proud owner of a recently discovered draft of the 1215 charter from the period of negotiations at Runnymede, found in a bound volume of thirteenth-century statutes, The Black Book of Peterborough. Additionally, it also boasts a unique roll copy of the 1225 reissue, which was part of the Society’s tercentenary Making History exhibition in 2007, and another 1225 copy bound in a volume of thirteenth-century statutes.

Conservation of the bound copies of Magna Carta (1215 draft and 1225 reissue) has recently been enabled by a grant of $50,000 from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, through its Global Art Conservation Project, and the volumes are currently in the conservation studio. The Society hopes that the conservation project and other funding will enable an exhibition to display the three copies of Magna Carta together for the first time in 2015.



About the Society:

Founded 1707, the Society of Antiquaries of London is Britain’s oldest learned society concerned with the study and understanding of the material past. Our Royal Charter of 1751 sets out our purpose as ‘the encouragement, advancement and furtherance of the study and knowledge of the antiquities and history of this and other countries’. Today the Society is a registered charity (237207) with an elected Fellowship of 3,000. Our principal objectives are to foster public understanding of heritage, support research and communicate the results, and to inform public policy on the care of the historic environment and cultural assets. We support these objectives through our historic research Library and Accredited Museum collections at Burlington House (London) and Kelmscott Manor (Oxfordshire), conservation and research grants, publications and public events like exhibitions and lectures.

More information about the Society and its activities and collections can be found at

Follow the Society on Twitter: @SocAntiquaries.

Click here to subscribe to the Society’s fortnightly e-newsletter, SALON, a heritage digest

Read more about the Society & the Magna Carta collection:

The Society will post news about its Magna Carta collections at

An Evening Standard article can be found here: ‘Rare Magna Carta Copies to be Displayed for 800th Anniversary Celebrations of its Sealing’

Richard Moss reported on the story on Culture24: ‘Society of Antiquaries to restore and display Magna Carta for 800th anniversary‘.

For more information about the Society of Antiquaries’ programme to commemorate the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, visit

Featured Article

The early settlers in the United States took with them copies of the Magna Carta. One undertaking given by King John in that Charter was as follows: No freeman shall be arrested or imprisoned or disseised or outlawed or exiled or in...

Read on...

Recent Articles

See more...

Stay updated

If you would like to keep informed about the work of the Magna Carta Trust and our partners, please sign up to the newsletter below.