Hidden away in the Guisborough Chartulary is the Cleveland Charter. It was issued by Peter de Brus when he acquired the Langbaurgh Wapentake in 1209. In this charter he imposes constraints upon himself, which six years later would be imposed on King John.
It is a statement about good government, a prototype of the Magna Carta. It survived because the Knights and free tenants of Cleveland deposited it in the Priory, under the protection of the one who proclaimed, "he casts the mighty from their thrones and raises the lowly", and who taught the One who pronounced the Beatitudes.
In 1216 King John marched north and moved against the northern barons who had forced him to sign the Magna Carta. He attacked and took Skelton Castle. In February he met Peter de Brus in Guisborough Priory, where even John dared not harm him.
In the Magna Carta, "the realm was more than a geographic or administrative unit. It was a community, capable of possessing rights and liberties." It went on to inspire the American Declaration of Independence and the Universal declaration of Human Rights.
Devotion to Our Lady includes more than sentimentality and flowery prayers. We are proud that the Shrine of Our Lady of Guisborough is a place where liberty and rights have been protected and cherished.