Everything you need to know about the Magna Carta

A 45-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of the attempted theft of the Magna Carta from Salisbury Cathedral in Wiltshire.

– The original Magna Carta was issued on July 15 1215. It followed the signing of an Articles of the Barons at Runnymede a month earlier.

– It forced King John to renounce certain rights, respect specified legal procedures and accept his will could be bound by law.

– The Magna Carta was reissued by John’s son Henry III in 1216 and again in 1217 and 1225.

– It was issued for a final time in 1297 by Henry’s successor, his son Edward I.

Attempted theft of Magna Carta
Attempted theft of Magna Carta

– The term Magna Carta is Latin for “Great Charter” – it was originally written in Latin.

– A large part of the document was copied, nearly word-for-word, from the earlier Charter of Liberties, issued when Henry I came to the throne in 1100.

– About 250 copies were created, however it is impossible to know the exact figure as no official list was created. The ones which have survived are on display in places including Salisbury Cathedral, the British Library and the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

– There are only 17 known copies of the Magna Carta still in existence. All but two of the surviving copies are kept in England.

– One belongs to the people of Australia and is kept at the National Library in Australia, while the other is owned by US billionaire David Rubenstein and is on permanent display at the National Archives in Washington DC.