February 9, 2015
Magna Carta worth £10m found in council archives
The Telegraph, 8th February 2015
‘An edition of the Magna Carta that could be worth up to £10 million has been found after it lay forgotten in a council’s archives.
The discovery of the version of the historical parchment that established the principle of the rule of law, in the files of the history department of Kent County Council, has been described as an important historical find by an expert.
The document was found in the archives kept in Maidstone, Kent, but belonging to the town of Sandwich.
Professor Nicholas Vincent, of the University of East Anglia, who authenticated the document, said: “It is a fantastic discovery which comes in the week that the four other known versions were brought together at the Houses of Parliament.
“It is a fantastic piece of news for Sandwich, which puts it in a small category of towns and institutions that own a 1300 issue.”
Prof Vincent said the fact Sandwich had its own Magna Carta gives backing to the theory that it was issued more widely than previously thought to at least 50 cathedral towns and ports.
He added the discovery gives him hope that further copies will also turn up.
There are only 24 editions of the Magna Carta in known existence around the world.
Prof Vincent said: “It must have been much more widely distributed than previously thought because if Sandwich had one… the chances are it went out to a lot of other towns. It is very likely that there are one or two out there somewhere that no one has spotted yet.”
Prof Vincent, who specialises in medieval history, said the value of the Sandwich edition could be up to £10million, but it was ripped with about a third missing.
He said: “This would be an upper value as it has, like the town of Sandwich, suffered over time from French invasions and the like.”