‘Very precious’ Declaration of Independence copy discovered in a Chichester record office 

22 Apr

They are now trying to work out how it came to be in this corner of England. According to staff at the records office, it was handed into them in 1956 by a local man, who apparently worked for a law firm representing the Dukes of Richmond.

One of the dukes was known as the “radical duke” for his support for the American colonists’ rebellion, suggesting he may have originally brought the manuscript to Britain.

“He was the most ardent supporter of the Americans during the revolution,” said Prof Allen.

The record office is now working with the university as well as historians at the British Library and the American Library of Congress to carry out further tests on the manuscript.

A second Harvard researcher, Emily Sneff, was left to reflect on the improbability of their discovery. “We certainly weren’t looking for a copy of the declaration in West Sussex,” she said.

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