This 1217 copy of Magna Carta, exhibited in partnership with Hereford Cathedral, will be travelling a total of 65,000 miles to 9 cities, including Lisbon, across 3 continents in a Global Tour organised by the GREAT Britain campaign and made possible by the generous support of British Airways. It will be displayed alongside the only surviving copy of the King’s Writ, a letter sent by King John from Runnymede in 1215 to officials in each English county, announcing the terms of Magna Carta.
The exhibition will also feature documents from the reign of King Afonso II, which reflect Portugal’s innovative policies at the time; as well as the Windsor Treaty, signed between Portugal and England in 1386 and which established the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, the longest standing bilateral diplomatic alliance in the world.
The British Ambassador to Portugal, Kirsty Hayes, commented:
I am delighted that Portugal has been included in this tour and that we have been able to work so closely with the Portuguese National Archives at Torre do Tombo. This has enabled us to display Magna Carta – the cornerstone of the British legal system and an inspiration to many who have fought for equality under law – alongside the Treaty of Windsor, the founding basis of the ancient alliance between our two countries. I hope that members of the public, including schoolchildren and students, will take the opportunity to see, with their own eyes, these historic documents close up and to learn about why they have endured over the centuries.
The Director of the Portuguese National Archives, Silvestre Lacerda, stated:
It is an honour for Portugal and particularly for the National Archives of Torre do Tombo to host one of the most defining documents of British identity and an affirmation of fundamental rights.
The Magna Carta 800 Global Tour
The GREAT Britain campaign showcases the very best of what the UK has to offer and encourages people to visit, do business, invest and study in the UK. The GREAT campaign’s Magna Carta Global Tour started in New York in September. From there it travelled to the European Court of Justice in Luxumbourg. Since then, Magna Carta has been in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malta. Portugal is its final stop.
Hereford Cathedral and Magna Carta
Hereford Cathedral has a special connection to the history of Magna Carta. In 1215, the Bishop of Hereford, Giles de Briouze, was the only bishop to join the other Magna Carta barons in rebellion against King John. Like other great English cathedrals, Hereford subsequently became home to a copy of Magna Carta and an original 1215 Kings Writ. Hereford is also home to the Mappa Mundi, the largest surviving Medieval World Map, and a unique medieval chained library, inspiration for the Hogwart’s Restricted Library in the Harry Potter films. The Hereford Cathedral Magna Carta is one of only 18 believed to be in existence.
British Airways, part of International Airlines Group, is one of the world’s leading global premium airlines and the largest international carrier in the UK. The carrier has its home base at the award-winning London Heathrow Terminal 5, and flies to more than 70 different countries.