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Spofforth was the main seat of the Percy family - one of the most important and influential families in northern England - until the late 14th century.

William de Percy, a favourite of William the Conqueror, built a manor house here in the 11th century, and it was reputedly here that rebel barons drew up Magna Carta in 1215.

How to Find it: The castle is off Castle Street, the main road through through Spofforth, off the A661.

Facilities: There are pubs and a convenience store in Spofforth. Spofforth is reputed to be the place at which Magna Carta was drawn up in 1215.

On 15 June 2015, the queen will visit Runnymede to celebrate the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.

But are we commemorating the sealing of the document on the correct day?

There was certainly a castle by the 13th century, and by 1307 the Barony of Morton was granted to Thomas Randolph, Robert Bruce's son-in-law. In 1357 that early fortress was torn down under the terms of the Treaty of Berwick, which called for several castles in the south west of Scotland to be destroyed in exchange for releasing David II from captivity in England.

This conclusion appears in all four surviving originals of the 1215 Magna Carta, and in the letter issued by Archbishop Langton and his fellow bishops setting out and guaranteeing the final text.Several other nearby sites claim ties to the charter, including Byland Abbey, which once held a copy, and Helmsley Castle, founded by one of the 25 barons charged with keeping King John to the terms of the charter. If you're visiting Byland Abbey, make sure you stop at the tearoom at the Byland Abbey Inn.Spofforth is around half an hour from Clifford's Tower in the city centre of York. Our target is to become completely self-funding by 2023.That all seems clear enough, yet distinguished historians have argued that the 15 June date is nothing more than “fictitious”.In their view, it took several more days for the details of the charter to be hammered out, and it was not till 19 June that John authorised its issue.The “given by the hand” formula is standard in royal charters: it indicates the day and place on which the ‘giver’ – either the king or a chancery official – authorised the drawing up and sealing of the charter in question, perhaps indeed by handing the final draft to the clerk who was going to write it out.

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