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Visitors flock to Sandwich for Magna Carta Rediscovered exhibition

By Emily Stott

More than a thousand visitors have flocked to Sandwich where two historic charters can be seen together.

The Magna Carta Rediscovered exhibit opened at the Guildhall last Thursday attracting people from far and wide.

There are now only a few days left to take advantage of the once in a lifetime opportunity to see Sandwich’s Magna Carta and Charter of Forest and Faversham’s Magna Carta.

Magna Carta exhibition
Magna Carta exhibition

Mayor of Sandwich, Paul Graeme, said: “Although it only opened on Thursday, September 24, the Magna Carta Rediscovered exhibition in Sandwich has had over a thousand visitors of all ages already.

“There has been a lot of interest around the town and from further afield, and it has been really exciting to pick up people’s enthusiasm for our shared heritage. I would like to thank our town clerk Laura Fidler, the Guildhall staff, our assistant volunteer project manager Oliver Dunn and all the volunteer stewards who are making the exhibition a great success.

Visitors at the exhibition
Visitors at the exhibition

“I would also like to invite anyone who hasn’t visited the exhibition to come and see our recently-rediscovered Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest. This is the only place in the world where the two charters can be seen together.”

The exhibition marks the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta and will close on Thursday, October 6.

Sandwich made international headlines earlier this year when its copies of Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest were found after being forgotten for more than half a century.

The Magna Carta
The Magna Carta

The charters form a matching pair from the reissue of 1300, only three matching pairs, including this one, are known to exist worldwide.

The free exhibition is open from 9am - 6pm daily and priority booking slots are available by advance request for schools and community groups between 9am and 11am each day.

After it closes in Sandwich, Magna Carta Rediscovered will move on to Rochester but the Sandwich copies of Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest will not move on with the exhibition.

There will be plenty of fun activities to mark Sandwich’s Magna Carta returning to the town.

A medieval fundraiser will be held at the Red Cow, Moat Sole on Saturday (October 3) at 7pm.

The band Rough Musicke will also perform throughout the afternoon.

Medieval band Rough Musicke celebrating the Magna Carta arrival in Sandwich
Medieval band Rough Musicke celebrating the Magna Carta arrival in Sandwich

The staff will dress in costumes and there will be medieval food on the menu.

The aim of this event is to raise money towards the Bring It Home campaign and there will be two medieval-style coffers at the venue where cash can be dropped in.

The band use a selection of reproduction medieval instruments and play early traditional tunes, with some raucous percussion. They are dressed in handmade costumes reminiscent of characters from a Bruegel painting and play throughout the year.

Rough Musicke have just recorded their second CD, which will be available to buy on the day.

English translation versions of the Sandwich Magna Carta, transformed into prints from the original by calligrapher Julia Baxter, will also be available to buy on the day with half of the profits donated to the MC funds.

Mrs Baxter said: “The band was very keen to offer to help with this campaign. This fundraiser is a great opportunity for members of public to hear some medieval music brought to life, have a taste of some medieval food and make a personal donation into King John’s ‘coffer’ in the style of medieval tax collection box.

“A collective amount, whatever it is, will help the town council’s funding of this precious document”.

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