Portsmouth was granted its first Royal Charter (and therefore bestowed city status) by Richard I on 2 May 1194. The king was based in Portsmouth at the time, ahead of sailing to France with his army.
In the charter, Richard I granted Portsmouth permission to hold a 15-day 'free mart fair' in August. He also expressed his desire for the residents to hold a market every Thursday "with the same free customs as citizens of Winchester and Oxford have".
Though the original charte no longer exists, numerous copies have been made over time. The most significant of these belongs to Oxford's Bodleian Library and dates back to the 14th century. To mark 825 years of us having city status, the Bodleian has loaned its copy of the charter to Portsmouth City Museum, where it will be on display for two months. In addition, there will be a number of events taking place throughout the year to mark the anniversary.
What's more, Portsmouth Paper no 65: The Origins of Portsmouth and the First Charter, by Sarah Quail, will be republished on 30 April so you can read all about its history and importance.
Visitors can also enjoy a tour of the Lord Mayor's corridor to see the city's other charters, which will take place between 30 April and 1 May. Bookings for this can be made through the Portsmouth History Centre.
Keep your eyes on our events pages for more goings on to celebrate the charter anniversary as and when they're announced.
Map & Directions
|Portsmouth Charter on Display (19 Apr 2019 - 19 July 2019)|