Magna Carta

From 1 May to 30 June 2015

We are excited to unveil a replica of the original Magna Carta on 1 May 2015, celebrating the 800th anniversary of the document's creation. Replicas of the document have been given exclusively to the 25 villages, towns and cities that played an influential role in the agreement of the document, 800 years ago.

The Magna Carta is commonly considered to be one of the most important documents in history. It set the foundations for a number of civil liberties and rights which are commonplace today, a number of constitutional documents around the world are built upon the key principles stated in the Magna Carta, including the United States Bill of Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights.

Why was the Magna Carta created?

During the reign of King John, from 1199 – 1216, his actions and strained relationship with the Church led several barons of England to renounce their oaths and lead a revolt against him. The barons, choosing Robert Fitz Walter as their leader managed to capture the City of London leaving the King with no option but to negotiate with them.

Their demands were recorded in a document known as the Articles of the Barons, which was later drawn up into the Charter of Liberties; now known as the Magna Carta. It is unknown how many original copies of the document were made, however only 4 remain today.

Of the twenty five barons involved in the revolt, one named William de Forz represented Skipton. This is why 800 years on we are celebrating its anniversary here in Craven Museum & Gallery, copies of this document were granted only to each of the 25 influential places making this a unique opportunity to view one of the most influential documents in history.

More information can be found on the Magna Carta 800th website, which has more information about Skipton and William de Forz.

Magna Carta exibhition
Magna Carta