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Disagreement over whether Cinque Port limb Deal had its own Magna Carta after discovery of Sandwich's ancient document

By Beth Robson

The discovery of Sandwich’s Magna Carta has sparked a debate between a historian and Deal’s mayor over whether Deal would also have a copy.

Historian and author Gregory Holyoake is certain Deal, a Cinque Port limb of Sandwich, would have been issued one. But mayor Deryck Murray has dismissed the idea, citing a point in Deal’s history as the reason.

According to Mr Holyoake, the key link is Faversham which, like Fordwich, has a copy of the 1300 document. Like Deal, the towns are also limbs of Sandwich, but Fordwich is a “connected town”.

Magna Carta found in Maidstone belonging to Sandwich Town Council
Magna Carta found in Maidstone belonging to Sandwich Town Council

To the historian’s reasoning this makes Faversham “on the same level”, making it more plausible that Deal was given a copy.

But the mayor says Deal was part of Sandwich at the time the Magna Carta was reluctantly sealed by King John in 1215 and when the Kent issues were given in 1300. It remained part of Sandwich until 1699, when Deal was awarded its own charter.

Mr Holyoake said: “If Deal really was issued with a later copy – which seems most likely – then it would have been held securely in the vestry of St Leonard’s Church. And it may yet be found in Kent Archives or Canterbury Cathedral Archives.”

Cllr Murray, who remains unconvinced, said Deal’s archives have been held at Dover District Council since 1974. He will ask for them to be checked for any reference to the Magna Carta.

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