King sealed the Magna Carta

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This week’s object comes from our museum store, it is a portrait of King John who ruled from 1199 to 1216.

King John is best known for his role in the sealing of the Magna Carta in 1215. It was an important document which, amongst other things, outlined basic rights with the principle that no-one was above the law, including the king. It also charted the right to a fair trial, and limits on taxation without representation.

About 250 copies were created, two of which reside in the British Library

King’s Lynn was one of the few places where King John had lots of friends and supporters. He was generally disliked elsewhere in the country. Perhaps this was because he granted the town a special charter in 1204.

The King John Charter, which is held in the borough archive, established Lynn as a free borough. This gave the town the power to rule itself locally.

King John is also famous for losing his treasure in Wash!

Join us on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 June, 10am to 5pm for a celebration of the Magna Carta with costumed characters and crafts. Strike your own King John penny to pay for your story from our story teller! Try your hand at our special Magna Carta trail and win a prize to take home.

Free admission, part of a town-wide event with King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council.