Top of page

Join Us for Human Rights Day 2022: The 1300 Magna Carta and The Charter of the Forest – Revealing the Past

Share this post:

Join the Law Library of Congress online on December 8, 2022 at 3p.m. EST  for our annual Human Rights Day event. Please register here.

Human Rights Day 2022. Graphic by Kelly Goles.

Human Rights Day was established to commemorate the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948. This event will feature a panel discussion concerning two foundational legal documents, Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest. Magna Carta was issued in June 1215, the first document to put into writing the principles that the king and the government was not above the law. Magna Carta was intended to prevent the king from exploiting regal powers, and placed limits on royal authority by making the king accountable to his barons and established law. The Sandwich Magna Carta was discovered in 2015, 800 years later, in a Victorian scrapbook along with an original Charter of the Forest. The Forest Charter was issued in 1225 to complement Magna Carta and regulate the administration of large sections of the royal forests in England governed by royal decree rather than common law.

This panel, which includes Jacob Nadal, Dr. Fenella France, and Chris Woods, will discuss the history of the charters and what the heritage science analyses could reveal, centuries later.

The Preservation Research and Testing Division (PRTD) at the Library of Congress had the opportunity through a collaborative agreement, to explore and recover damaged original text and understand the background of these significant documents.


About the panelists

Chris Woods

Chris Woods. Photo courtesy of Chris Woods.







Chris Woods is an accredited conservator with over 30 years of experience working in the heritage sector. Chris’s former public sector roles have included head of Conservation & Collection Care at the Bodleian Library, Oxford University, and director of Collection & Programme Services for the Tate galleries. Mr. Woods has published, lectured, and taught in a range of specialist fields, notably building and storage environments, parchment manuscripts, archival seals and plastic photographic negatives. Mr. Woods founded National Conservation Service in 2009/10. Currently chairman of the British Standards Institution’s committee responsible for BS4971:2017 Conservation & Care of Archive and Library Collections (and formerly for BS5454, the 2009-12 review of which he led), Mr. Woods is also active in Europe, having led the work to develop EN 16893:2018 Specifications for Buildings, recently launched, and which replaces the now withdrawn BS5454. Mr. Woods advises Lincoln and Salisbury Cathedrals on the care of their 1215 Magna Cartas of King John and Hereford for its 1217 Magna Carta of Henry III.

Fenella G. France PhD MBA FAIC

Dr. Fenella G. France
Dr. Fenella G. France. Photo courtesy of Dr. France.







Fenella G. France, chief of the Preservation Research and Testing Division, Library of Congress, is an international specialist on environmental deterioration to cultural objects. She has developed a research infrastructure that integrates heritage and scientific data and also focuses on data visualization. Her team is expanding the use of portable instrumentation and sample reference materials that support preservation of cultural heritage. Dr. France has worked on projects including World Trade Center Artifacts, Ellis Island Immigration Museum, Llullaillaco High Altitude Museum in Chile, and the 1507 Waldseemüller World Map. She collaborates extensively with academic, cultural, forensic and federal institutions and has taught courses in the U.S., London, New Zealand, Portugal and Latvia. She is currently principal investigator on an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded project to scientifically assess the condition of print materials in U.S. research libraries. Her other international collaborations include; Inks&Skins, University College Cork, Ireland, Collections Demography, SEAHA doctoral training, Beast2Craft Biocodicology project, and CHaNGE – Cultural Heritage Analysis for New Generations. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Council on Library and Information Resources.

Jacob Nadal

Jacob Nadal. Photo by Shawn Miller.







Jacob Nadal is the director for Preservation at the Library of Congress. He was appointed to the position in July 2017 to manage the work of the Directorate’s four divisions — Collections Management, Conservation, Preservation Services, and Research and Testing — and provides leadership for the Library’s stewardship of the national collections. Before joining the Library of Congress, he served in leadership roles and developed preservation programs for the Research Collections and Preservation Consortium (ReCAP), Brooklyn Historical Society, UCLA, New York Public Library, and Indiana University, where he received his master’s degree in Library Science. His work has involved developing large-scale cooperative programs to share and preserve research materials, investigating business models and administrative frameworks for many aspects of preservation, organizing preservation efforts in the aftermath of natural disaster or armed conflict, and working in professional development and education for preservation.

Subscribe to In Custodia Legis – it’s free! – to receive interesting posts drawn from the Law Library of Congress’s vast collections and our staff’s expertise in U.S., foreign, and international law.

Comments (5)

  1. Looks to be a very interesting talk.

  2. Thanks for making this talk available online.

  3. thank you

  4. Is this discussion available as a recording?

    • Hello. Thanks for your question. We are in the process of editing it. This recording will be uploaded to shortly.

Add a Comment

This blog is governed by the general rules of respectful civil discourse. You are fully responsible for everything that you post. The content of all comments is released into the public domain unless clearly stated otherwise. The Library of Congress does not control the content posted. Nevertheless, the Library of Congress may monitor any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove content for any reason whatever, without consent. Gratuitous links to sites are viewed as spam and may result in removed comments. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on the Library site. Read our Comment and Posting Policy.

Required fields are indicated with an * asterisk.