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29.04.2023 – 05.10.2023

Heritage Gallery Exhibition

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For the first time, three of the City’s oldest charters will be on display together at the City of London Heritage Gallery.

In the Coronation year of Charles III, this display reflects on the historic links between the monarchy and the City of London.

We recommend that you book a free general admission ticket to gain entry to the Heritage Gallery.

The William Charter

The William Charter, which was drawn up at the beginning of 1067 as William I was crowned. This charter is the earliest known royal document in Europe to guarantee the collective rights of all (not just a specific group of) the inhabitants of a town and bears the earliest surviving impression of the seal of the new King of England.

The William Charter will be on display from noon on Wednesday 3 May.

heritagegallery-william-charter - image of parchment

The Shrievalty Charter (1199) and the Mayoralty Charter (1215)

King John confirmed the City of London had the rare and important rights to elect their own Sheriffs rather than be crown appointments. In 1215, as the political situation in the country became tense, John sought to appease Londoners by confirming that the Mayor of London (the term Lord Mayor came much later) could also be chosen by Londoners, with the proviso the Mayor was publicly presented or shown – the origins of the Lord Mayor’s Show today.

The Cartae Antiquae

Dating from the 1400s, this beautifully illustrated book records charters and statutes covering laws enacted from the reign of Edward III (1327 onwards) to the accession of Henry VII in 1485. City officials used this book as an essential reference tool as they scrutinised statute and safeguarded the rights of the medieval City. There is a portrait of each king on the first page of the statutes for his reign; the page open shows the portrait of Richard III, one of the best known medieval monarchs.

Prints of coronations in the nineteenth century. This includes prints of the coronations of George IV, William IV and Victoria.

Heritage Gallery Exhibition - Cartae Antiquae - illustration from a 1400's book - portrait of Richard III

Portrait of Richard III, The Cartae Antiquae. Image courtesy of London Metropolitan Archives.

Prints of coronations in the nineteenth century

This includes prints of the coronations of George IV, William IV and Victoria.

heritagegallery-queen-victoria - print of a gathering in a cathedral for Queen Victoria

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