Magna Carta celebrates 800th anniversary

The Queen, patron of the Magna Carta Trust, will today be visiting the green meadow on the bank of the river Thames where the agreement of the Magna Carta took place on 15 June 2015. The document marks the beginning of the current weights and measures system used by trading standards officers across the UK and celebrates an 800 year legacy.

Thousands will gather at Runnymede, near Windsor, Berkshire, for an elaborate commemoration of the historic text. The Queen will be joined by other senior members of the royal family, including the Duke of Cambridge, and parliamentarians led by Prime Minister David Cameron.

One of the most famous documents in the world, the Magna Carta is a charter agreed by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor on 15 June 1215. Clause 35 of Magna Carta stated: “There shall be standard measures of wine, ale, and corn (the London quarter), throughout the kingdom. There shall also be a standard width of dyed cloth, russett, and haberject, namely two ells within the selvedges. Weights are to be standardised similarly”.

Local Authorities’ trading standards departments deliver the local enforcement of most of the UK’s weights and measures legislation. The National Measurement and Regulation Office (NMRO) works closely with the national co-ordinating body, the local government regulation and the professional institute for inspectors of weights and measures, Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) as well as regional groups of authorities and individual inspectors to promote consistency and best practice.

Almost all goods today are sold by some reference to quantity. The accuracy of scales, spirit measuring instruments, petrol pumps and other weights and measures equipment used by businesses is vital in ensuring the correct measurements are used nationwide from weighing machines, wine and beer glasses. In fact, a toast is being raised today at 12.15pm by Community Pubs minister Marcus Jones to mark the Magna Carta’s 800th anniversary and celebrate the first ever Beer Day Britain. Join in on social media and use the #CheersBDB

Find out more about the enforcement of weights and measures here.

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