The National Society
Magna Charta Dames and Barons
 National Society Magna Charta Dames®
Somerset Chapter Magna Charta Barons®

P.O. Box 4222, Philadelphia, PA 19144

Telephone: 215-836-5022; Fax 215-836-5056


News 2017

Newsletter March 29, 2017

Invite For Washington DC Dinner, Friday, April 14, 2017

News 2016

Link To News Page 2016

Listing of Lost Members - October 30, 2016

Fairhaven Lecture June 2016

Washington DC Dinner April 9, 2016  Text Collections

Newsletter March 31, 2016

England June 2016

News 2015

December 2015

Tour Information June 2015
800th Anniversary - England

Washington DC Dinner
April 11, 2015

February 2015 - Stakeholder Meeting
Temple Church London

News 2014

October 2014 Page

June 2014 Page

Bingham Center For the Rule of Law Event
April 21, 2014
Future of Human Rights - Washington DC

An international panel which included the Director of the Bingham Centre, Professor Sir Jeffrey Jowell QC, met on Monday, 21 April to discuss human rights law. They considered major successes as well as unaddressed issues in the human rights movement, the effectiveness of the terms used by the movement to inspire change, and alternative frameworks. They also discussed the contributions of the late Professor Ronald Dworkin in human rights debates.

Other panellists included;Stephen G Breyer, Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court; Professor David Cole, Georgetown University Law Center; Former Chief Justice Margaret H Marshall; Robert Silvers, Co-Founder and Editor of the New York Review of Books; and Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty.

The event was broadcast on C-Span:
Watch Session One: The next generation's human rights
Watch Session Two: Lessons from the past, for the future

Washington DC April 2014

Links To: Mr. Saunders Dr. Malpass

Houston Exhibit - We have added new information to the Exhibit page including the Museum Promotional Video Link

Electronic Newsletter February 2014

Link To Newsletter

From the Houston Museum of Science
Talk by Sir Robert Rogers, House of Commons
“A Universal Charter? The Legacy of Magna Carta”
Wednesday, February 19, 6:30 p.m.
Link To Talk Link To Slides
Link To Page For the Houston Lectures

 Ross Perot's Magna Charta Sale Program
Edited by Professor Nicholas Vincent
 56 Pages  Link

State Meeting Page (for video) Link - Added interview from 1993 with one of our members who attendedthe 750th Annoversary at Runnymede

Added Tour Video From Runnymede Garter Day and Beating Retreat Prince Edwards Wedding (outside St Georges Chapel) Highclere Castle

Please use Firefox if Internet Explorer does not work promptly


At our meeting last year we learned about the planned publication of Magna Carta The Foundation of Freedom 1215-2015, edited by Professor Nicholas Vincent. Professor Vincent had provided the text for the Program Book for the Sale of the 1297 Magna Charta formerly owned by Ross Perot’s Foundation and now owned by David Rubenstein and displayed at the National Archives. We were given permission to include the text but not the pictures on our website and the link is above. I was very impressed by the 56 page text.

 Our Society is planning one of 6 Special Editions (in addition to the general edition) of Magna Carta The Foundation of Freedom 1215-2015, edited by Professor Nicholas Vincent, and published by Third Millennium of the UK. If our members and other supporters subscribe for enough books (I have been told 500) for a special edition, then I am planning an 8 page forward and we will include a list of our subscriber members in the book. The forward will emphasize the role of our Society members in developing awareness of Magna Charta. The new book will include additional authors as well as excellent pictures. The other special editions in addition to our Society are for the ABA, the IBA, the Law Society and the Bar council of England and Wales, and Lincoln Cathedral. Even if there are not enough subscriptions for the special editions the general version (without a special forward or list of member subscribers) will be an excellent legacy publication for the first 800 years of the MC.


USA 800th Anniversary - Page

Plan for our Annual Dinner - Washington, DC - Aprl 12, 2014

Opening the 800th Anniversary in the US - Houston Museum of Natural Science - February 14, 2014

Special Page With Exhibit Information

Visitors to the Exhibit will view an original 1217 Magna Charta along with an original versaion of the 1215 King's Writ. The museum staff has designed a very impressive exhibit which will place these iconic documents within a historical context to provide an educational experience for all ages. Chancellor Neilson visited the museum and viewed the exhibit under construction on January 17, 2014.

The programs include Lectures and Classes.  Link To Exhibit Information

News 2013

ABA Section of International Law
2013 Fall Meeting London England

Tuesday October 15, 2013

4:30 pm – 6:00 pm Coronation Suite, 2nd Floor
Magna Carta: the Fountain of Freedom and Democracy

The American Bar Association has joined the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth nations in honoring the 800th Anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta in 1215. The fundamental concepts of liberty that had their beginnings in Magna Carta were transplanted to the American colonies, influencing our history and the United States Constitution. The 2013 meeting of the ABA Section of International Law in London provides an ideal opportunity to build on the gathering momentum for the 2015 commemorative events. This panel explores the historical and contemporary significance of the Magna Carta to many legal systems around the world, including those based in both the common law and civil law traditions. Lesser-known documents, such as the Charter of the Forests signed shortly after the Magna Carta, will also be noted. Featuring distinguished experts from both sides of the Atlantic, this session promises to be a milestone in drawing the past and the present together for a fresh understanding of the rule of law.

Program Chair & Moderator:
Daniel Magraw, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Washington, DC,

United States program Chairs:
Anna Mance, Aballi Milne Kalil, P.A., Miami, Florida
Andrea Martinez, International Justice Initiative - SAIS, Johns Hopkins University, Washington DC

Professor Nicholas A. Robinson, Pace Unıversıty Law School, White Plains,  New York
Nıcholas Vıncent, East Anglıa Unıversıty, Norwich
Judge Diane P. Wood, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit,  Chicago, Illinois
Sir Robert Worcester, University of Kent, Canterbury


October 11, 2013

International Bar Association

IBA Rule of Law Symposium

October 11, 2013

Rule of Law Action Group

n Prague 2005, the IBA Council passed a Rule of Law Resolution. It was followed by a rule of law initiative in 2006. The Rule of Law Action Group has been given the responsibility to provoke, urge and assist the membership of the IBA in supporting and promoting the rule of law.

Since 2006, the final day of the annual IBA conferences has been dedicated to rule of law issues. Following successful rule of law symposia in Chicago, Singapore, Buenos Aires, Madrid, Vancouver, Dubai and Dublin, the final day of the conference in Boston 2013 will also be devoted to the rule of law.

Corruption and the rule of law

Keynote speaker
Paul VolckerAmerican Economist and former Chairman of the Federal Reserve

Respect for the rule of law is an essential component of democratic governance. Corruption on the part of state officials is calculated to undermine the rule of law and erode public confidence in government. It constitutes theft from the pockets of all citizens and undermines the moral fibre of the citizenry. As was famously stated by Justice Louis D Brandeis, ‘Our government teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law: it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy’. The elimination of fraud and theft on the part of state officials is essential to safeguard the rule of law.

Paul Volcker, American economist and former Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, addressed the Rule of Law Symposium at the IBA Annual Conference 2013. He spoke on corruption and the rule of law.


Magna Carta and the rule of law

Keynote speaker
Justice Stephen BreyerUS Supreme Court, Washington DC, USA

2015 will mark the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, the ‘great charter’ that for the first time reined in the power of absolute English monarchs. The idea that all are subject to the law, including kings and presidents, had its origin in Magna Carta. It is also the basis of the rule of law, the very heart of a democratic form of government. It is appropriate that the International Bar Association in 2013 should look ahead to the important anniversary of a document that has inspired democracy and the rule of law in many countries.
 Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, addresses the Rule of Law Symposium at the IBA Annual Conference 2013, in anticipation of the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, a document that has inspired democracy and the rule of law in many countries.

Session / Workshop Chair(s)
Session Co-Chair: Justice Richard Goldstone
Title Co-Chair Rule of Law Action Group
Former Justice of South African Constitutional Court
From: Morningside, South Africa
Session Co-Chair: Robert Stein
Officer TitleCo-Chair Rule of Law Action Group
Univ of Minnesota Law School
From: Minnesota
Keynote Speaker: Stephen Breyer
Supreme Court of the US
From: Washington, USA
Keynote Speaker: Paul Volcker
Former Chair, US Federal Reserve Board
From: New York, USA
Speaker: Essam Al Tamimi
Al Tamimi & Company
From: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Speaker: Hilary Heilbron QC
Brick Court Chambers
From: London, England
Speaker: William Hubbard
American Bar Association
From: Columbia, USA
Speaker: Homer Moyer Jr
Officer Title: Vice-Chair Rule of Law Action Group
Miller & Chevalier Chartered
From: Washington, USA
Speaker: Akere Tabeng Muna
Transparency International
From: Berlin, Germany
Speaker: Lord Phillips of Worth Maavs
Former Presdent of theSupreme Court of England and Wales
From: London, England
Speaker: Peter Rees QC
Royal Dutch Shell plc
From:The Hague, Netherlands
Speaker: James R Silkenat
Officer Title: President / Chairperson
American Bar Assoc
From: New York, USA
SpeakerJosé Ugaz
Transparency International
From: Berlin, Germany
Speaker: Stephen Zimmermann
The World Bank
From: Washington, USA

Session chairs:

Justice Richard Goldstone, Co-Chair, IBA Rule of Law Action Group; Former Justice of South African Constitutional Court
Robert Stein, Co-Chair, IBA Rule of Law Action Group; University of Minnesota Law School


Stephen Breyer, Supreme Court of the United States
Essam Al Tamimi , Tamimi and Company
Hilary Heilbron QC, Brick Court Chambers 
William Hubbard , American Bar Association
James R Silkenat, President, American Bar Association 
Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers

Introduction -

Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court from IBA on Vimeo.


Part 1 -

Rule of Law Symposium afternoon session: Magna Carta - PART 1 from IBA on Vimeo.

Part 2 -

Rule of Law Symposium afternoon session: Magna Carta - PART 2 from IBA on Vimeo.

Interview with Lord Phillips

Lord Nicholas Phillips, former President of the UK Supreme Court from IBA on Vimeo.



August 7, 2013

We are adding additional resources, from 2008, The Magna Carta Workshop Report, Teaching about human rights and democracy – The Magna Carta as a reference point - A collaboration of the National Education Association, the National Union of Teachers and Lincoln Cathedral - Report - 76 Pages

July 20, 2013

Announcement by British Library of 2015 Exhibit of 4 2015 Magna Charta. Video Link.

We have developed a short slide presentation to introduce and explain our Society. Link.

June 17, 2013

Magna Carta Lecture Video  Text

The 9th Annual Lecture - University of London Royal Holloway College/Runnymede Trust

by Professor Dr Bertrand G. Ramcharan Ll.M, Ph,D., Barrister-at-Law (Lincoln’s Inn) reviously: Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Professor, First Swiss Chair of Human Rights, Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Deputy and then Acting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists; Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration. Currently President of UPR Info.


June 15, 2013

The Magna Carta - Its Relevance for today and tomorrow - Conference

Our Democratic Heritage held a debate in Bloomsbury, London, on this year’s Magna Carta Day. By symbolising freedom from tyranny, Magna Carta has been a touchstone for concepts of rights and responsibilities for centuries. Whatever our views it is vital that we come together to celebrate the creation of the freedoms we now enjoy and to debate how best to preserve and extend them today. It will discuss the contemporary relevance of the Magna Carta, and how its legacy ­­should be carried into the future. Widely recognized as a pivotal document in the development of the rule of law, the debate discusses alternate interpretations of Magna Carta’s meaning for a contemporary audience. Our Democratic Heritage. We are looking to support anyone interested in holding their own activity on that day, however small or ambitious.

Participants: Dan Plesch, Chair of Our Democratic Heritage, Anthony Barnett, Open Democracy ( ), Clare Coatman, Friends of the Earth (  ), Lord McNally, Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords and former Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice, and Sir Robert Worcester, Chair of the Magna Carta 800 Committee,

June 14, 2013

I visited the Lincoln Castle, where one of the 1215 Magna Carta is displayed and observed exciting progress for the new Interpretive Center which is under construction as part of a 20 million pound (approx $32 million dollars) project, including 5.2 million pounds from the Lincolnshire County Council. We encourage visiting and searching for the Castle. We encourag our members and friends to attend the opening event in 2015 (to be announced).  Please let us know if you are interested in attending.

June 12, 2013

Lord Judge Lecture - Text

June 11, 2013

Retirement Presentation COL James Durant

April 2013

Dinner April 2013

Ambassador G. Philip Hughes is a Senior Director at the White House Writers Group ( as well as a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic & International Studies. He spoke regarding the importance of educating the world on the values of the Magna Carta during the 800th Anniversary celebration.  

March 2013

We are in the process of sending Electronic Newsletters to our Members, Potential Members and those who are interested in Magna Charta. Link

The mailed invitations have been sent for our annual dinner on April 13, 2013, sent to those members who have expressed interest in attending. If you would like an invitation please send your request to

We have added the updated information concerning the Library of Congress Exhibit scheduled to open November 28, 2014. Link 


December 2012

We have encouraged our Divisions Chapters and Colonies to record their presentations and we are encouraged that Houston Colony Regent Mrs. Lou Gilpin recorded their last meeting and the excellent talk, "Feudalism, the Norman Invasion and the Early Plantagenets: The Road To Magna Charta" presented by Dr, Louis Markos can be viewed on our site Link To Talk

October 2012

We have added the Dedication Speech for the ABA Memorial at Runnymede - July 28, 1957 Link

June 2012

 The Archbishop of Canterbury presented The Magna Carta Lecture at Royal Holloway, University of London, June 15, 2012 - "Sovereignty, Democracy, Justice"    Video  The Video was filmed by Society Herald Nicole Escue


April 2012

Meeting with Dr. Billington, Librarian of Congress - April 13, 2012 - Librarian's Ceremonial Office - Planning for the Exhibit to open November 28, 2014

Vice Chair of the 800th Committee, Alice Richmond, and Chancellor Neilson meeting with Dr. Billington

Chair of the 800th Anniversary Committee, Sir Robert Worcester, plannign for the Exhibit with Dr. Billington and Chancellor Neilson.

A Preview of some of the Exhibit items

Almost 800 years old!

Our Dinner - View the Video

We had an excellent and informative dinner on April 14, 2012.  We are including Video of the presentation by Sir Robert Worcester   Video  and Text The Law Librarian of Congress  Video 

March 2012

The Library of Congress is planning an Exhibit opening on November 28, 2014.
Link To Prospectus.


Mailed invitations to our April 14, 2012 dinner are in process to those who have expressed interest in attending, those who have recently attended, recent contributers and leaders. Mailed invitations, like mailed newsletters, involve significant cost and we appreciate that our members with internet access share information. Electronic Newsletters especially can provide considerable information (including links) and lasting information which supports our educational mission.

We have established a primarily "members" website with user names and passwords. For logistical reasons it is more effective to have a separate site for this purpose which is . Members of our Society have access to pages for the Divisions, Colonies and Chapters as well as information sharing pages for immigrant ancestors. The immigrant ancestors will initially include both those qualified for our Society as well as other imigrants who were prominent in the colonial period. Our members who have provided the Society with their email address have been sent a welcoming email with a password and we encourage our members to register for access.

Potential members and those interested in the Magna Charta may also register for the site with sections of the site (to be developed) for them. We will be working on the site and welcome reasonable suggestions.

Our Society has been invited to participate in a reception in Philadelphia on April 26, 2012 to support The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Program. While there is limited space if you might be interested in attending please send an email to the Society.

January 2012

We are pleased to announce the 2012 Annual Dinner for Saturday, April 14, 202 at the University Club, Washington, DC. Sir Robert M. Worcester, KBE, DL, will be the speaker at our dinner on the subject: “Magna Carta: Foundation of Liberty, Protector of Democracy” . Professor Sir Robert M. Worcester, KBE, DL chairs the Magna Carta 2015 800th Anniversary Committee. Link to Response Form.

News 2011

December 2011

We are adding video to our site. Dean Alec Knight in November of 2004 provides some perspective on the Virginia Beach Exhibit of 2007. The video was taken at the visitors center at the Tower of London. Link

 London October 2011

Our Society  is now included as a member of the Magna Carta Trust, providing two Trustees, Chancellor Lewis L. Neilson, Jr. and Vice-Chancellor. Professor Henry Conrad Wurts. The 800th Anniversary Committee has a new website 

We met with Canon Rex Davis who was the SubDean of Lincoln Cathedral for 27 years until 2003 who provided some very interesting perspective on the travels of the Lincoln Magna Charta. Video.


 Philadelphia October 2011

Focusing on our own history, we have added a page for information about Memorable Meetings of our Society. There are 56 meetings listed up to April 17, 1956 and many of the talks were printed and circulated to the membership. We are in the process of scanning that information.

Please refer to the 2010 News Page for additional information about the Launch Ceremony of the 800th Celebration

Philadelphia PA July 2011

July 25, 2011 - Chancellor Nelison planned a meeting in Philadelphia with Roberta I Shaffer, Law Librarian of Congress, Robert Newlen, Assistant Law Librarian for Collections, Outreach and Services, Siobhan A. Reardon, President and Director, Free Library of Philadelphia, and Janine Pollock, Head, Rare Book Department, Free Library of Philadelphia.

There is additional information including pictures from 1939 Link

June Newsletter - We sent an Electronic Newsletter

England June 2011

The Chancellors June 2011 Trip to England began on Thursday June 9 at Lincoln. Thursday evening I met with Dr Nicholas Bennett, Vice-Chancellor and Librarian, Lincoln Cathedral Library, and Carol Bennett, Lincoln Cathedral Education Officer. I asked about the archives of the Cathedral concerning the travels of the Lincoln Copy of the Magna Carta and they suggested that I meet with Linda Tilney which I did Friday afternoon. After the meeting I attended evensong at the Cathedral where the results of the election of a new Bishop were announced. After the service the Magna Carta Lecture. "Magna Carta and the Rule of Law"  [view video-S] [view text] was presented by Lord McNally, Minister of State for Justice and Deputy Leader of the House of Lords, followed by a reception at the Deanery. I had a chance to meet Phil Hamlyn Williams the new Chapter Clerk and Chief Executive of Lincoln Cathedral, .

On  Saturday Linda Tilney provided a 30 minute recording [view video-S] of her recollections of the Magna Carta travels and I took the afternoon train to London.

Please see additional information about the Exhibits Link


On Monday, by kind permission of Rt. Hon. John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons, Mrs Eleanor Laing MP, invited me to a reception to launch The All Party Parliamentary Group on the Magna Carta, in the Speaker Apartments, House of Commons. We were welcomed by Rt Hon John Bercow MP and Mrs. Eleanor Laing MP followed by an explanation of the aspirations of the 800th Anniversary Committee by Sir Robert Worcester KBE, DL. [view video-S]

Tuesday evening there was a Choral Evensong In Celebration of Magna Carta at the Temple Church, The Reverend Robin Griffith-Jones, Master of the Temple, presiding,  [view video-S] followed by a dinner at the Inner Temple. The speaker following dinner was Rt Hon Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, Master of the Rolls and Chairman of the Magna Carta Trust. [view video-S]

Thursday afternoon the 800th Anniversary Committee met at Royal Holloway followed by seventh annual Royal Holloway lecture. The lecture was presented by TheRt Hon Lady Justice Arden DBE, entitled "Magna Carta and the Judges - realizing the vision".  [view video of lecture-S] [view text] [view video of dinner-S]

Washington DC April 2011

April 16, 2011 - The 2011 DC Reception and Dinner was held Saturday, April 16, 2011 at the University Club. We reviewed plans fo the 800th Ceolebration and enjoyed remarks from a representative of Lincoln Cathedral, Allison White. Link

April 14, 2011 - The Chancellor met with and recorded a brief presentation by Roberta Shaffer, Law Librarian of Congress, explaining plans for the 800th Anniversary Celebration Link


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