A forgotten edition of the Magna Carter has recently been discovered in a scrapbook in an English town after laying forgotten for centuries, according to the Guardian.
Coincidentally, the find comes on the heels of the 800th anniversary of the charter, which established the principle of rule of law. In fact, just last week the four original copies of the Magna Carta were brought together and displayed in the Houses of Parliament.
Although the document was discovered in archives in Maidstone, it actually belongs to the town of Sandwich. Officials have established that it was issued by Edward I in the 14th century.
Only 24 editions of the Magna Carta are known to be in existence.
Professor Nicholas Vincent of the University of East Anglia authenticated the document, saying, “It is a fantastic discovery which comes in the week that the four other known versions were brought together at the Houses of Parliament.
“It is a fantastic piece of news for Sandwich which puts it in a small category of towns and institutions that own a 1300 issue,” Vincent added.
He went on to say that the discovery gives him hope that further copies will also turn up.
“It must have been much more widely distributed than previously thought because if Sandwich had one … the chances are it went out to a lot of other towns,” Vincent said. “And it is very likely that there are one or two out there somewhere that no one has spotted yet.”
He appraised the Sandwich edition of the historic document to be anywhere up to £10 million ($15,228,500) since it was ripped with about a third of it missing.
The document was discovered by archivist Dr. Mark Bateson just before the 800th anniversary of King John’s concession.
It was found when Bateson was asked to look up a copy of the town’s original Charter of the Forest. When Bateson looked up the charter he discovered that next to it was the Magna Carta, tucked away in a Victorian scrapbook.
Mayor of Sandwich Paul Graeme has said that he does not intend to see the Magna Carta sold, but rather he is hoping to see the town benefit from it as a tourist attraction.
“On behalf of Sandwich town council,” the mayor said, “I would like to say that we are absolutely delighted to discover that an original Magna Carta and original Charter of the Forest, previously unknown, are in our ownership.
“To own one of these documents, let alone both, is an immense privilege given their international importance," Graeme added.