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Magna Carta - Faversham

• The Faversham edition of the Magna Carta has been in the town since 1300

• The Faversham Magna Carta is the last reissue of King Edward I’s seal  this is also believed to be the last time the Magna Carta was reissued

• Six 1300 Magna Carta documents remain located in Oriel College – Oxford, The Bodleian Library, Durham Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, the City of London and Faversham Town Council !

• The town was issued with the Magna Carta because of its connection with the Cinque Ports of Kent and Sussex which were given special status because of the role they played in protecting the country’s coast from invasion

• It sets out the principles of freedom under law and is the basis for legal and political systems around the world

• The document is a ‘confirmation’ and an original Magna Carta and the last reissue of King Edward I’s seal

• It was awarded to the barons of Faversham in 1300 by the then king, Edward I

• The charter was written by medieval scribes specifically for the town. At the foot of the document it says in Latin that it is for the Barons of the Port of Faversham

• It is an official Royal confirmation of the document that the barons of England forced King John to sign in 1215 at Runnymedesealed with the King Edward’s official wax seal

• It is thought that only 17 original confirmation documents are left in the world

• It’s attachment to one place since the time of its issue is of particular interest according to Professor Nicholas Vincent an expert on medieval history

• The Magna Carta is one of a number of charters awarded to Faversham by kings. The oldest was granted to the town in 1292

• Its historical importance was initially overlooked in the town’s archive which is not surprising as Faversham has one of the largest collections of municipal charters in the UK

• Faversham has what leading historian Professor Nicholas Vincent has called ‘a magnificent series of charters. They number 18 in total and date from 1252 to 1685 most of them related to Faversham as a Cinque port town

• Faversham’s first charter dates back to 1252 when Henry III gave local barons immunity from the payment of certain tolls and customs

• The Charter of 1576 granted by Elizabeth ordained that a Elizabeth Queen of England grammar school should be founded. This charter whilst granted to the Mayor of Faversham, hangs in the school. The final charter of 1685 granted by James II, confirms amongst other things the foundation of the Free Grammar School of Queen Elizabeth.

The Charter of 1278 sets out the collective obligation of the Cinque Ports to provide 57 ships and men for 15 days - Faversham only provided one ship, in its capacity as a limb of Dover.

Lucy Guthrie


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