This year marks the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta, a commemoration of national and international significance. Due to its central place in English history and its impact across the world, a wide range of events and activities are taking place across the UK, with a focus on Runnymede, where the document was originally signed. [caption id="attachment_938" align="aligncenter" width="640"] One of four surviving copies of the 1215 Magna Carta. This copy is one of two held at the British Library. It came from the collection of Sir Robert Cotton, who died in 1631. In 1731, a fire at Ashburnam House in Westminster, where his library was then housed, destroyed or damaged many of the rare manuscripts, which is why this copy is burnt.[/caption] The water-meadow is situated around 20 miles west of central London, a short way down the Thames from London RIB Voyages HQ. In 1215, King John sealed the Magna Carta on Runnymede Meadows in front of the Barons of England. The document is widely claimed to be the most valuable export of Great Britain to the rest of the world. The Magna Carta was one of the first documents to restrict the powers of the King and recognised that not even the King was above the Common Law. Many copies were made and sent out across the kingdom, however only four copies still remain. The untouched riverside landscape where King John and the Barons met remain a place for pilgrimage for those reflecting on the values of liberty, democracy, freedom and the rule of law. This year there are plenty of events taking place to mark the anniversary, too. Take a look at the schedule here. If you're planning a historic trip to Runnymede, you could also combine it with a Thames-based adventure courtesy of our unrivalled red speedboats! Click here to book your ticket.
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