1682 Royal Charter of King Charles the Second (Charles II), 23 leaves of manuscript


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Rare opportunity to own a Royal Charter of King Charles the Second, due to the humble nature (Irstead) of the recipients of this lengthy twenty-three leaf document, dated 1682. This charter does have the face of Charles the Second at the first leaf, as well as gold illumination of his name.

The charter establishes the properties, government, etc. for the area of Irstead, in the Norwalk area of the United Kingdom. Irstead, Neatishead, The Broads and the locks are all discussed, along with councils, property descriptions and court cases naming of many of the area's residents circa 1680.

Irstead is a rather humble collection of buildings now, likely why this Royal Charter found its way to market. King Charles II Royal Charters can be found as prides of collections; see the Hudson Bay Charter, The Royal Society's charter, The Rhode Island and Providence charter, and the Carolina charter.

This charter's King Charles portrait and header are closest in detail to that of the Rhode Island charter.

This example is missing the wax seal that would have been on the cord at the bottom edge.

About Royal Charters -

A royal charter is a formal grant issued by a monarch under royal prerogative as letters patent. Historically, they have been used to promulgate public laws, the most famous example being the English Magna Carta (great charter) of 1215, but since the 14th century have only been used in place of private acts to grant a right or power to an individual or a body corporate. They were, and are still, used to establish significant organizations such as boroughs (with municipal charters), universities and learned societies.

Physical Attributes -

Unrolled, the Charles the Second leaf measures approximately 74 x 60 cm.

The next 21 leaves (2 to 22) measure approximately 74 x 52 cm.

The last leaf, twenty-three, is a 1/3 of the size of the King Charles II leaf.

The King Charles II leaf has a portrait of King Charles within the illuminated C. His name is illuminated (gold leaf applied). Around his name is scrollwork depicting Ireland and Scotland in Lions, Unicorns, thistles, roses, etc.

The document is ruled in red throughout. Each pages has approximately 50 rows of manuscript, barring the last.

At the bottom edge is a braided cord that would have held the royal seal; also, a signature of (the royal notary?).

Along the edges of the parchment you can see the pinholes where the grids were mounted to guide the ruling.

Condition -

See pictures. Curled, as stored curled-up. Chipping to edges of outermost leaves, which incudes the Charles II page, fore-edge with heavy chipping that goes into the text. toning on outside of last leaf (from being exposed) and last leaf (the Charles II leaf) has some discoloration, fading, etc, mid-page inside. Two small holes upper-right of Charles leaf. Some graphite annotations in left margin throughout. Occasional pin hole, stain mark, etc. throughout. Graphite pagination at upper-left corner. Occasional mid-page rubbing/fading of text. Also, occasional vellum preparation patching to rear of leaves (pre-manuscript; manuscript on top of patch); the skin of the lambs/cows occasionally had holes that were fixed although some remain holes at margins. Also, occasional ink marginal annotation.

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