New Historian

City of Lincoln Council’s Charter from 1301 Authenticated

King Edward I of England (2)

<![CDATA[Because of its almost-perfect condition, the document thought to be the original charter granted to the City of Lincoln Council in 1301 by King Edward I was viewed suspiciously, and thought by many to be either a fake or a later copy. Not any longer. The document has now been authenticated by Philippa Hoskin, a professor of Medieval Studies with the University of Lincoln's School of History & Heritage. The document, so well-preserved it even had the great seal attached, reaffirmed the privileges and trading grants that had been awarded to Lincoln by earlier kings. In 1290 Lincoln had lost the rights included in the document, after the city's authorities were accused of illegally taking money from its poorest constituents. Today’s City of Lincoln Council had knowledge of the document for some time. The charter was granted when King Edward I held his parliament sessions at Lincoln Cathedral in February, 1301. By studying the letter formations, the notes in the margin and even the manner in which it was sealed, Hoskin was able to conclude that the charter was in fact genuine. In a statement from the university, Professor Hoskin said: "At the time it was not unusual to hold Parliament away from Westminster. We don't know for definite, but there are several reasons why Lincoln may have been chosen. We know that King Edward I was a great fan of the city, choosing its famous green cloth for his child's nursery, or it may just have been a convenient halfway point between London and his fighting in Scotland.” "The charter was important for the city at the time, and because of its importance it's likely the city paid a high price for the document. We know that Norwich paid £20 for a pair of charters in the mid-13th century, enough to pay a day labourer's wage for twenty years at the time, and I suspect Lincoln paid quite a bit more. "It's rare to see a manuscript in such good condition, and even rarer to find the great seal still attached, so it's been a delight to be able to examine it and to confirm it's a genuine copy." The Charter was discovered as part of a refurbishing project of the City of Lincoln Council charter collection, which is stored at the Guildhall over the Stonebow in Lincoln. The document’s examination also offered an unprecedented teaching experience for two of the universities students of Medieval Studies, by giving them the opportunity to assist with dating the medieval charter. Civic and International Partnerships Manager at the City of Lincoln Council, Kate Fenn, is quoted in as saying, “We are very proud of our historic charters in Lincoln, so it is incredible to find one that dates back this far. A find like this shows just how important a part Lincoln played in the country’s history, especially when you consider the other major charters that have links with the city such as the Charter of The Forest and Magna Carta.” ]]>

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