The Great Charter by Mike Parr

19th February 2021

Although everyone will have heard of the Magna Carta, there are as many interpretations of the document as there are misunderstandings about its significance. 

To many, it is the document which grants liberty to the people of Britain and establishes the rule of law, but over the many centuries that it has been in existence, historians, legal theorists and academics have argued at length about the real meaning of this monumental document.

What is known is that the 1216 Magna Carta, as it was named, was the reissue of a document from the previous year that had been drafted to clarify the position between an unpopular king, John and a group of rebel barons.

Rewritten in 1216 after the death of King John, and stripped of some of the more radical clauses, it soon became a part of English political life. As the power of the monarchy waned and parliament grew over the centuries, many of the clauses of the original document were either codified into law or superseded.

By the 21st Century, almost the entire content of the charter was repealed from British statute books, however the symbolic significance of the document remained.

Believed by many to be the definitive symbol of liberty, it represented the unending struggle between authority, the law and the people over the centuries. It is revered not just in the UK but in the USA and New Zealand as well where some clauses from it remain part of current constitutional and general law.

In 2015 there were celebrations marking 800 years from the first drafting of the original document. Since then, numerous copies, known as exemplifications, were created to include amendments and changes and reflect contemporaneous political positions.

For the celebrations, however, the British Library brought together the four existing copies of the original 1215 manuscript to exhibit, with other exemplifications touring the world. It was one of these copies which inspired Mike Parr to design his piece ‘The Great Charter’.

This sublime project featured in Inspirations issue #109 was created by Mike after he had viewed King Edward I’s signature on the 1300 copy of the Magna Carta. The magnificent E lent itself perfectly to being recreated using monogramming techniques and forms the main part of the design on this set of needlework accessories. 

Stitched in white thread on crisp white linen, the monogram is worked using padded satin stitch.

Although satin stitch is a deceptively simple stitch to master, real perfection comes from getting the angle of the stitch just right.

Also, ensuring that each stitch lays perfectly next to its neighbours without overlapping is vital. Particularly when worked in a single colour, a stitch sitting incorrectly suddenly becomes very obvious.


However, by stitching carefully and methodically, you too can achieve the same level of meticulous finish showcased by Mike in The Great Charter. 

Regardless of the actual, legal status of the Magna Carta today, its significance is still vitally important for many people around the world. Nevertheless, content aside, one can’t help but admire the aesthetic beauty of the writing, captured perfectly by Mike’s design.

Stitching The Great Charter is the perfect way to acknowledge a document which has had such a profound impact on millions of people over the course of eight long centuries.

Make Your Own | The Great Charter

Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

The Great Charter by Mike Parr is a whitework needlebook and scissor fob, embellished with a kingly monogram inspired by the Magna Carta.

Printed Magazines

Inspirations Issue 109

Digital Patterns

The Great Charter – i109 Digital

Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for The Great Charter includes everything* you need to re-create these stunning sewing accessories: Fabrics (unprinted), replica seal**, wool felt, metal washer, fibre-fill, sewing & embroidery threads, ribbon and needles.


The Great Charter – i109 Kit

*Please Note: To cater for flexibility of purchase, instructions are not included with our kits. For step-by-step directions on how to create this project, please refer to the magazine/digital pattern.

** Please Note: Replica seal included in kit is for decorative purposes only and not intended for robust use.

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