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Friday, 10 April 2015

Washington, Baltimore and Lancaster - and the discovery of a de Bohun charter

Nicholas Vincent with David Mao, Deputy Librarian of Congress,
in Washington
The Magna Carta Project’s Principal Investigator, Nicholas Vincent, has been in the USA this week talking about Magna Carta. On 6 April he was in Washington to deliver a public lecture at the Library of Congress, as part of the Library's programme of commemoration following its exhibition of the Lincoln Magna Carta earlier this year. From there Nick went to Baltimore, to visit the archive of Johns Hopkins University. He took the opportunity to look over the papers of Sidney Painter (d.1960), the renowned medievalist whose biography of King John is still widely read. Nick made some interesting discoveries, including an unpublished short story by Painter (not, unfortunately, a long-lost masterpiece), as well as the references written for Norman Cantor, one of the candidates to succeed Painter, by the great medievalists Richard Southern and David Knowles (both the story and the references will appear shortly in a Feature of the Month). 
Nicholas Vincent speaking at Franklin and Marshall College
From Baltimore Nick went to Franklin and Marshall College (Lancaster, Pennsylvania) to speak to students, staff and members of the local community at the College’s ‘Common Hour’. Shortly before his talk, a chance enquiry led Nick to the College’s library, where he made a serendipitous discovery: a charter of Henry de Bohun, one of the twenty-five baronial enforcers of Magna Carta, dating from c.1200. The charter’s seal provides the earliest record of the de Bohun arms: a bend between two lions rampant. Watch out for a forthcoming Feature on the charter. 

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