Examine collection items such as the British Library's 1215 copy of Magna Carta together with a translation in modern day English. Read an introduction to Magna Carta, learn more about the context of its creation, the people involved or explore a timeline of its legacy.


Basics of Magna Carta

Magna Carta: an introduction

Essential information about Magna Carta. Why was it created? What does it say and why has it become one of the most celebrated documents in history?

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Magna Carta in context

Magna Carta in context

From the medieval Church to money-lending, feudal rights to the royal forest, discover how Magna Carta was both influenced by, and impacted upon, the institutions and customs of its day.

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Magna Carta and King John's seal

English translation of Magna Carta

Translation of the full text of the original 1215 edition of Magna Carta from Latin into modern day English. Which clauses were later omitted and which are still valid today?

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Magna Carta: people and society

Magna Carta: people and society

Who were the key personalities in the history of Magna Carta? Find out more about King John, the barons, Pope Innocent III, Archbishop Stephen Langton and the other individuals and groups who played important roles.

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Magna Carta timeline

Timeline of Magna Carta and its legacy

Stretching from 979 to 2015, this simple timeline charts the key events leading up to the declaration of Magna Carta in 1215 and then explores the legacy of the document up to the present day.

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Collection items

Explore an original Magna Carta of 1215 (one of only four surviving), together with a 1225 Magna Carta and Forest Charter authorised by Henry III. Discover Magna Carta in draft form by viewing The Articles of the Barons and the papal bull that later annulled all clauses, plus the genealogical roll that shows the ancestry of King John.

Magna Carta, 1215

Date: 15 June 1215

Magna Carta, 1225

Date: 11 February 1225

The Forest Charter of 1225

Date: 11 February 1225

Blog posts about Magna Carta

Canterbury Cathedral and Magna Carta

03 March 2015

The countdown continues until the opening of our major exhibition, Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy. Today we're delighted to announce that the show will feature a number of stunning loans from Canterbury Cathedral, which will illuminate the story of how...

Magna Carta: The Worcester Connection

26 February 2015

There are now just a few weeks to the opening of our magnificent Magna Carta exhibition. We're very excited today to announce that on display will be some extremely precious items loaned to us by our friends at Worcester Cathedral...

Magna Carta Unification Update

25 February 2015

It seems ages since we brought together for the first time in history the four 1215 Magna Carta manuscripts: in fact, it was only the beginning of February! This was a truly memorable occasion, and we thought you might like...

One Month To Go

13 February 2015

It's exactly one month until our major exhibition, Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy, opens to the public. We've been working feverishly behind the scenes to get the show ready: the builders are fitting out the gallery, the labels have been...

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Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy

Magna Carta exhibition paperback

Magna Carta catalogue PB

The catalogue of the once-in-a-lifetime British Library exhibition


Magna Carta facsimile print

A facsimile of the Magna Carta damaged in the Ashburnham fire of 1731

from £17.50

Magna Carta bag

Tote bag, with lettering in an illuminated script, made from light-weight cotton