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Letter patent of King John, single vellum sheet, in Latin, Runnymede, 15 June 1215

After the Articles of the Barons had been sealed, the royal chancery produced from the text a formal royal grant which became known as Magna Carta, the Great Charter, to distinguish it from the Charter of the Forest of 1217. Royal letters were issued containing a copy of the grant shortly after the conclusion of the meeting at Runnymede on 21 June. Four such letters survive; two in the Cotton collection at the British Library. These letters are the earliest record of the text of Magna Carta. This example was given to Sir Robert Cotton by Humphrey Wyems or Wymes in 1629. According to one account it was found in a London tailor's shop.

The most famous clauses in Magna Carta are numbers 39 and 40

'No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land'.

'To no one will we sell, to no one will we deny or delay right or justice'.

Cotton MS Augustus ii. 106