Funds provided by Magna Carta 800 will allow Durham Cathedral to create two high-quality authentic replicas of its 1216 Magna Carta and the 1217 Forest Charter. These replicas will enable the Cathedral to enhance its delivery of ongoing learning opportunities about the Charters and their significance for people of all ages in the North East region and beyond.
The original issues are very fragile, which hinders our ability to produce them for scholars who may wish to use them for research, or to visiting groups who would like to see the issues in greater detail. We can also only lend them out in rare circumstances and then only when very stringent conditions are achieved. The replicas will allow greater access to the documents, and increase the number of people who can learn about how Magna Carta influenced our lives today and its historical significance. The Cathedral’s Education team will also be able to eextend its learning programme for schools, which presently engages with 20,000 young people a year from across the North East region.
Durham Cathedral’s archives represent one of the most complete surviving monastic archives in Britain and Europe. Dating back to the late eleventh century, they are of exceptional historic and cultural importance. They comprise original charters, many with their seals still attached; and include three unique engrossments of Magna Carta and three Forest Charters. The 1216 Magna Carta is the only surviving issue and there are only two surviving engrossments of the 1217 Forest Charter.
Innovative techniques will be used by the conservators creating the replicas, and more details and information will follow as the work progresses.
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