Lincoln is the only place in the world where you can find original copies of both the 1215 Magna Carta and the 1217 Charter of the Forest, one of only two surviving copies.
The two charters are owned by Lincoln Cathedral and are housed in Lincoln Castle, a seat for justice from its beginnings.
Magna Carta in Lincoln
Only four original copies of Magna Carta remain from when it was sealed by King John in 1215. King John is said to have been forced into its sealing by rebellious barons with the aim of limiting the power of the monarchy and upholding the rights of the individual.
Copies of the charter were spread to religious houses in England - Hugh of Wells, the then Bishop of Lincoln, was present at the sealing and made sure a copy was brought back to Lincoln Cathedral. Today it is on loan to Lincoln Castle and on display there.
A year later in 1216, King John died at Newark Castle (near to Lincoln) and nine-year-old Henry III took the throne. In 1217, under the guidance of William Marhsall - named the 'best knight that ever lived' - King Henry sealed the Charter of the Forest as a complementary charter to Magna Carta which re-established many rights for free men.
Plese note: at certain times during the year Magna Carta is at rest and unavailable. Please see the Lincoln Castle website for details of which documents are on display and when.