Man charged with attempting to steal Magna Carta

By Joe Gammie, Press Association

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

Alarms were set off at the cathedral last year when an attempt was made to smash the glass box surrounding the ancient manuscript.

Wiltshire Police said on Monday that Mark Royden had been charged with attempted theft and criminal damage in connection with the incident on October 25 last year.

The force said Royden, 46, from Devon, is due to appear at Salisbury Magistrates’ Court on Friday June 28. 

The Magna Carta was not damaged and nobody was injured in the incident.

A man has been charged with the attempted theft of the Magna Carta (Ben Birchall/PA)

After the incident the manuscript was held in storage while work was carried out to replace the 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.

Hammer holes in the glass case at Salisbury Cathedral (Ben Birchall/PA)

King John issued the Magna Carta after agreeing peace terms with a band of rebel barons and it is now one of the world’s most celebrated legal documents.

It established for the first time that neither monarch nor government was above the law and set out principles of liberty which echoed through the centuries.