Magna Carta theft: Man charged with attempting to steal 13th century manuscript

Mark Royden accused of trying to take 1215 text from Salisbury Cathedral

Colin Drury
Monday 24 June 2019 21:32
Hammer holes in the glass case that housed the Magna Carta at Salisbury Cathedral
Hammer holes in the glass case that housed the Magna Carta at Salisbury Cathedral

A man has been charged with attempting to steal one of the oldest surviving copies of the Magna Carta from Salisbury Cathedral.

Mark Royden is accused of trying to smash his way into a glass box where the 13th century manuscript was on display.

The 46-year-old, from Devon, will appear at Salisbury Magistrates Court on one count of attempted theft and and one of criminal damage, Wiltshire Police said.

The incident itself occurred on 25 October last year.

The Magna Carta was not damaged and nobody was injured during the attempted raid.

After the incident the manuscript was held in storage while work was carried out to replace the glass box’s outer casing but it went back on display in February.

Salisbury Cathedral's copy of the text is one of four that remain in existence from the original 1215 charter.

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

The Magna Carta is widely regarded as a founding stone of British democratic rights and was signed by King John after he agreed peace terms with a band of rebel barons.

It established for the first time in European history that neither monarch nor government was above the law.