One of only 17 existing copies of the Magna Carta (from 1297) sits in Parliament House in Canberra
Details of the Magna Carta
Written in shorthand Latin
(after all writing material were expensive in those days) on vellum
, the Magna Carta
) is one of the world’s most important legal documents
influencing the constitutions of many countries (including Australia, Canada and USA). Initially issued in 1215 by King John, this version is from 1297 (under King Edward 1
) and is one of only 17 existing copies
of this valued and historic document. Multiple copies of the same document were spread around England to spread the word of the laws. It’s remarkable that so many have survived almost eight centuries of dusty rooms, warfare and ill-treatment.
Laws from this document are still active in the UK (and Australia)including the rights to freedom, the freedom of the Church of England and the rights to be tried by jury (habeas corpus).
The text is tiny, elegantly scribed and totally unintelligible to the untrained reader. This version is permanently displayed in Australia’s National Parliament in Canberra.