Unearthed by Accident Rare Magna Carta
Researchers in England accidentally discovered a previously unknown copy of the Magna Carta in the Sandwich archives in the town of Maidstone. Dr. Mark Bateson, the Kent County Council’s community history officer, was in search of another document titled the Charter of the Forest. Unintentionally he discovered a copy of the medieval charter tucked inside a scrapbook compiled by a British Museum official at the end of the 19th century. It is the seventh known copy of the document issued by King Edward I in 1300, and 24th overall.
The Sandwich discovery could be worth as much as $15.2 million. The first Magna Carta, drafted in 1215, established the principle of the rule of law. Subsequent editions were issued to include other rights, including trial by jury, that inspired the U.S. Constitution. The final version of Magna Carta was distributed in 1300 under the king’s seal.