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Old royal charter from 819 years ago, found in a cardboard box

Dr. Benjamin Pohl with the royal charter (left) and an earlier charter of Bishop Hugh de Puiset of before 1183 (right). Both documents are kept in the archives of Ushaw College Library. (With thanks to Dr. Benjamin Pohl)

An extremely rare old royal charter, which was discovered in an unlikely place by a researcher working in the United Kingdom.

The 819-year-old charter is dated March 26, 1200, the first year of King john’s reign in great Britain, researchers say.

It was found by Benjamin Pohl, who was on the Ushaw College Library, Durham, on a visiting fellowship to the study of medieval manuscripts.

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According to the University of Durham, the charter is written in what is known as “right hand” and was probably prepared by a professional writer, which may be a member of the king’s of the government department or chancery.

Royal charter wax seal

It also includes the royal wax seal.

The rare charter confirms the grant of property in County Durham, including the villages of Cornsay and Hedley Hill, Walter of Caen and Robert FitzRoger, Lord of Warkworth and Sherriff of Norfolk and Suffolk, according to a press release from the university.

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The original charter of the discovery allowed researchers to compare with a medieval administrative copy is called a “charter-roll.”

The Ushaw College Library is seen in this image of the University of Durham.
(Durham University)

The original listed, a greater number of the witnesses, who allegedly are some of the most powerful people at that time in England.

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