EXPERTS have discovered Sandwich Town Council is the owner of an original and previously unidentified Magna Carta.
The document an original Magna Carta from the issue made in 1300 by King Edward I to the borough of Sandwich.
The extraordinary find was uncovered at the archives at Kent County Council’s Kent History and Library Centre (KHLC), in Maidstone.
The discovery was made by KCC Community History Officer Dr Mark Bateson after leading Magna Carta academic historian Professor Nicholas Vincent contacted him to investigate a separate document in the archives – Sandwich’s original Charter of the Forest.
Dr Bateson spotted the Magna Carta right next to the charter, and Prof. Vincent then authenticated the document.
Mayor of Sandwich, Cllr Paul Graeme, said: “On behalf of Sandwich Town Council, I would like to say that we are absolutely delighted to discover that an original Magna Carta and original Charter of the Forest, previously unknown, are in our ownership.
“To own one of these documents, let alone both, is an immense privilege given their international importance.
“Through the American Declaration of Independence, continuing in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Magna Carta still underpins individual liberties worldwide.
“To own such a document – and the Charter of the Forest – is an honour and a great responsibility.”
The Sandwich charter is the 24th known to still exist, and the second surviving for a Cinque Port, along with a document from Faversham.
Visit Kent and partners will stage a touring exhibition this year based around the Faversham Magna Carta, which will visit Canterbury, Rochester, Dover and Maidstone.