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June 3, 2015

Transatlantic crossing for historic documents

The Durham Times, Tuesday 2nd June.
By Gavin Havery.
Click here to read the original article.

Durham Cathedral is making history by sending one of its three priceless Magna Carta issues across the Atlantic this week.

It is the first time the document, which dates back to 1300, will have ever left its North-East home and will be sent along with the accompanying Forest Charter.

They are heading overseas as part of a national exhibition, which will tour four Canadian cities until December.

Starting in Ottawa, the exhibition will give Canadians a unique opportunity to come face-to-face with the documents.

Cathedral guide and senior steward Gordon Summerbell had the idea to loan them following a family holiday four years ago.

It has been organised to mark the 800th anniversary of the creation of the original Magna Carta by King John at Runnymede in 1215 and coincides with an exhibition of the 1216 copy at Palace Green Library, near Durham Cathedral, over the summer.

The 74-year-old retired bank manager, from Shotley Bridge, in County Durham, and his wife, Rosemary, and her sister Bernadette Toner, will be guests of Magna Carta Canada at the Canadian Museum of History when the exhibition is launched in Ottawa next week.

He said: “One of the ideas is that the reputation of Durham will be pushed to the fore, and of course that will include the cathedral.”

The documents will be the centrepiece of a bilingual, interpretive and interactive exhibit based on three themes: History, Legacy and Justice Today.

A bilingual documentary film, Magna Carta: The Enduring Struggle for Rights and Freedoms, will also be featured as part of the exhibition.

Suzy Rodness, co-chair of Magna Carta Canada, said: “Durham Cathedral’s gracious generosity in bringing this original issue of the Magna Carta to us has afforded Canadians a tactile, tangible, teachable moment.”

Click here for more information about Magna Carta and Canada.



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