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Rare Medieval Royal Charter Discovered in English Archive

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Medieval royal charterDURHAM, ENGLAND—According to a BBC News report, medieval historian Benjamin Pohl of the University of Bristol found an 819-year-old royal charter carrying King John’s wax seal in the archives of Ushaw College Library, which is managed by Durham University. Issued in York and dated March 26, 1200, during the first year of King John’s reign, the charter confirms the transfer of ownership of two hamlets in County Durham to Walter of Caen and Robert FitzRoger, Lord of Warkworth and Sherriff of Norfolk and Suffolk. Historians knew of the transaction because it had been recorded in an administrative copy of the original charter known as a charter roll, but the charter roll listed only three of the witnesses present at the signing of the original. Pohl said the newly discovered document lists nine witnesses, including some of the most powerful people living in northern England at the time, who would presumably have been eager to do business with the new king. For more, go to “The Curse of a Medieval English Well.”

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