Purchase a living piece of history: Magna Carta Island is for sale

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Here's your chance to purchase a piece of living history as the alleged site of the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 is up for sale.

Magna Carta Island, a spectacular 3.72-acre island on the river Thames, is cited by the outstanding authority on the history of Magna Carta, Matthew Paris, as the location of the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215. Magna Carta is one of the most famous of all documents, widely regarded as the cornerstone of liberty in the English-speaking world and is the source of many of the most fundamental concepts of law including due process, trial by jury, protection against excessive fines and cruel and unusual punishment.

It was here that King John, with the protection of a circle of walnut trees and the gentle curve of the river which would keep enemy long bows out of range, met with his rebellious barons who had camped on the opposite bank of the river on Runnymede Meadow is believed to have signed the Magna Carta. 

A stone on which it is thought the charter was signed lies today in a specially built Charter Room which forms part of the main Grade II listed house on Magna Carta Island built by George Simon Harcourt, Lord of the Manor and the Sheriff of the County in 1834.  The Charter Room’s walls are hung with the crest of King John and those of the 25 barons elected to keep the Magna Carta safe including Richard de Montfichet who was the owner of the island which was part of the Manor of Wraysbury along with neighbouring Ankerwycke, site of the 2,000 year old yew which is rumoured to be where Henry VIII conducted his first meetings with Anne Bolyen in the 1530s.

The reminder of the main property, while in need of modernisation, has considerable charm. The magnificent dining room seats up to 20 people and has original panelling from Bisham Abbey an open fireplace and an open aspect across the expansive lawn, which includes a tree planted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1974 to mark her visit to this highly historic site during her Royal Progress from Windsor, as well as the outdoor swimming pool.  The generous hallway leads through to a charming reception and a kitchen/breakfast room off which are several small ante rooms.  

On the first floor are six bedrooms, the master bedroom with dressing room and bathroom and a family bathroom.  A secondary cottage is located opposite the house containing a reception room, kitchen/breakfast room, two bedrooms and a bathroom.

The grounds were mostly laid out in the 1920s with an expansive lawn, topiary ewe trees and several important trees whilst 402 metres of river bank frontage to the Thames provides an ideal mooring for a large launch or river pleasure boat.  A small bridge connects the island to the mainland from where it is easy to reach Windsor, Heathrow and London.  

Stuart Cole, Head of Region for UK Sotheby’s International Realty comments: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to buy a piece of world history where the rule of law was first forged.  Not only is Magna Carta Island a idyllic private island in the Thames with 402 metres of prime river frontage it is widely acknowledged to have been the site of the signing of the Magna Carta, perhaps the most significant charter in history.  I look forward to finding the next custodian of the island and it’s Charter Room.”

Magna Carta Island is for sale through United Kingdom Sotheby’s International Realty, + 44 (0) 1932 860 537, www.sothebysrealty.co.uk for £3,950,000 million.

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