A copy of the Magna Carta could be sold off by Faversham Town Council for £20 million in what residents are branding “an act of incredible irresponsibility” to sell off our town’s “birthright”.
The 719-year-old document - one of just seven in existence - was presented to the barons and port of Faversham in 1300 by Edward I to confirm the rights granted by his grandfather King John in the original “great charter” of 1215.
It was suggested the document could be sold during a consultation into the future use of 12 Market Place, which is owned by the council and used to display the Magna Carta since the document was found in a scrap book in 2015 in archives in Sandwich.
Resident Brian Pain said: “The whole of the 12 Market Place came about because of the idea of displaying the Magna Carta.
“Now we can’t do that because there isn’t the grant money to do it and the cost would be enormous.
"I wondered whether the council had considered turning the whole problem on its head on what we do with the space now and selling the Magna Carta?
“Seriously - sell it to an academic or an academic institution on the condition it comes back once every four years and is displayed here.”
Kris Barker, a Liberal Democrat councillor said that the option would be "explored among others".
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However, Louise Bareham, Faversham’s town clerk, told Yahoo News UK that Faversham Town Council does not wish to sell the Magna Carta, and any future plans for it are "off the table" until they have agreed what will happen with the Town Hall.
"Any options explored in future would involve engagement and consultation with the residents of Faversham," she said.
“We recognise the historic significance of this document and that it should be accessible to the public, rather than secured in a vault.”
Former journalist Mark Gardner, who has lived in the town for 50 years, said the council selling its Magna Carta would be "outrageous".
He called it an "act of incredible irresponsibility" for Faversham council to "sell off our town's birthright".
Locals raged online about the proposal to sell the hefty document.
One said: "This copy of Magna Carta does not belong to the Council.
"It belongs to the people, or more correctly to the people of Milton Regis.
"Check it out and follow its history line."
Another added: "The Barbarians are no longer at the gate. They are running the whole show now.
"This country is in steep decline and there does not seem to be an end in sight."