Hereford & Worcester

Magna Carta returns to Hereford Cathedral from world tour

Page from the Magna Carta Image copyright Hereford Cathedral
Image caption Hereford Cathedral's copy of the Magna Carta was seen by more than 25,000 people when it was on tour

A rare copy of the Magna Carta has returned to Hereford Cathedral following a world tour.

The 1217 version was displayed in New York, China, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal and Singapore and was even given its own first-class seat on a flight from the UK to the USA.

Originally issued by King John in 1215, the document was modified and reissued in subsequent years.

It established that everyone, including the king, was subject to the law.

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Image copyright AP
Image caption Visitors looked at the Hereford Magna Carta at the Residence of the British Ambassador in Beijing, China
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Canon Chris Pullin, from Hereford Cathedral, an expert on the Magna Carta, accompanied the document round the world - here pictured in Hong Kong

What was Magna Carta?

  • Magna Carta outlined basic rights with the principle that no-one was above the law, including the King
  • It charted the right to a fair trial and limits on taxation without representation
  • It inspired a number of other documents, including the US Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • Only three clauses are still valid - the one guaranteeing the liberties of the English Church; the clause confirming the privileges of the City of London and other towns; and the clause that states that no free man shall be imprisoned without the lawful judgement of his equals

More than 25,000 visitors saw the Hereford Magna Carta during its world tour, which was part of celebrations to mark the 800th anniversary of the signing of the original document.

Canon Chris Pullin from Hereford Cathedral, who accompanied his Magna Carta on the global trip, said: "It has been a tremendous experience sharing such wonderful documents with people from around the world, and it is great to be back at home, sharing our tour stories and experiences with people from the diocese and surrounding counties."

From Friday 18 December until 2 January it will be on show in the cathedral, alongside the Mappa Mundi.

Image copyright British Airways
Image caption British Airways transported the document in its own first-class seat

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