Man accused of trying to steal Magna Carta pleads not guilty

Mark Royden represented himself in court

Friday, June 28, 2019

A man charged with using a hammer to smash the glass box protecting a copy of the Magna Carta has pleaded not guilty.

Mark Royden, from Kent, was arrested after he allegedly tried to steal the 800-year-old document at Salisbury Cathedral in October last year.

It is alleged he was stopped by members of staff and the public before being arrested.

The Magna Carta was not damaged in the incident.

The 46-year-old has pleaded not guilty to attempted theft and criminal damage to the protective case at Salisbury Magistrates’ Court today.

He represented himself in court and only spoke to enter his pleas and confirm his details.

The chairwoman of the magistrates, Alix Smith, placed Royden on bail on the condition he did not enter Salisbury Cathedral.

The case will return to court on July 31.

Mark Royden is out on bail

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

King John issued the document 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.

Two of the surviving Magna Carta copies are held by the British Library, and the final copy belongs to Lincoln Cathedral.

Read more

Hammer-wielding man who tried to steal Magna Carta from Salisbury Cathedral released on conditional bail

Russian flag flown from Salisbury Cathedral in 'stupid stunt'