The Explore Your Archive campaign, coordinated by The National Archives and the Archives and Records Association, is entering its third year in 2015. The main campaign takes place in November, however, a mini campaign has been launched for June to commemorate the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.
Magna Carta, meaning ‘The Great Charter’ is one of the world’s most famous and important constitutional documents in the rise of democracy and human rights.
Issued and sealed by King John in June 1215, Magna Carta established for the first time the principle that everybody, including the King, was subject to the law.
The document is essentially a list made up of 63 clauses, the 39th clause stating that all ‘free men’ had the right to justice and a fair trail. Some of Magna Carta’s principles directly influenced subsequent constitutional documents including the United States Bill of Rights (1791), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the European Convention of Human Rights (1950).
Sadly we don’t hold Magna Carta here at the record office – only four survive, with amendments of various dates, and are held at Salisbury Cathedral, Lincoln Cathedral and two at the British Library.
In our collections, however, we do hold a copy with translation from 1951 (Ref: D2331/1).
Along with this we hold a wealth of material relating to democracy, our legal system and access to rights as a human being.
Over the next coming weeks we will be adding posts featuring specially chosen items from our archives and local studies collections so join us as we travel from Magna Carta to the Miners’ Strike in our online exhibition Magna Carta – the road to democracy.