Salisbury Cathedral is home to one of the original surviving Magna Carta documents. Written in 1215 the Magna Carta ("Great Charter") was intended to protect the rights and wealth of a privileged elite. However its rules also had a fundamental impact on society - asserting the freedom of the Church, improving the justice system and ensuring that the Monarchy was not above the rule of the law. It is seen as an ancient charter of liberties and democracy and has helped to shape the constitutions of many countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia.
Around 40 copies of the Magna Carta are believed to have been created in 1215. These were distributed across the country to be enforced. Today only 4 of the original copies remain. The Magna Carta at Salisbury Cathedral is said to be the best preserved of these. For many years it has been on display at the Cathedral for the public to see.
On the 25th October 2018, just before closing time, a man entered the exhibit at Salisbury Cathedral and using a hammer he attacked the case protecting the Magna Carta in an apparent attempt to steal it. Fortunately he failed in his attempt and the Magna Carta was not damaged. You can see the damaged case on display in the Cathedral. The Magna Carta was taken off public display for a number of months however I am delighted to report that it is now back on display for visitors to see along with a fascinating exhibition that explains the background behind the Magna Carta.
Salisbury Cathedral is approximately 1 hour from Bath and can easily be visited on a day trip from Bath. Salisbury is close to Stonehenge so during a visit it is also possible to do a tour of Stonehenge. I can include a tour of Salisbury Cathedral on a custom-made tour so if you would like to see the Cathedral and the Magna Carta please contact me. Salisbury Cathedral is also home to the world's oldest clock, the country's tallest spire and as you can see below it also has a very unique and beautiful baptism font.