National Records of Scotland

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Declaration of Arbroath - National treasure granted UNESCO honour

Declaration of Arbroath - National treasure granted UNESCO honour

Tuesday, 5 Jul 2016
image showing part of the Declaration of Arbroath with some of the seals of earls and barons.

The most famous document in Scotland’s history has been awarded special status by the United Nations.

UNESCO has included the Declaration of Arbroath in its UK ‘Memory of the World’ register. The original document is in the keeping of National Records of Scotland.

It was a letter to the Pope, written in 1320 and signed by the Scottish barons pledging their resistance to English rule.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said:

“The Declaration of Arbroath is a hugely significant document in Scotland’s history and I welcome its inclusion in UNESCO’s register.

“Seven hundred years after the Declaration was drafted, it is fitting this inspirational, internationalist document has been recognised for its heritage status on the global stage.”

Tim Ellis, Keeper of the Records of Scotland, said:

“The Declaration of Arbroath holds a unique place in Scotland’s history and tells a vital piece of our story, as its entry in UNESCO’s Register confirms.

“We’re proud to hold it in our collections at National Records of Scotland and to work to preserve it for future generations.”

Elizabeth Oxborrow-Cowan, Chair of UK Committee, UNESCO Memory of the World Programme, said:

“I am delighted to welcome the Declaration of Arbroath onto the UK Memory of the World Register and I congratulate the National Records of Scotland on this achievement. 

“This famous document rightly deserves the accolade of outstanding significance to the UK. It is a wonderful example of our remarkable documentary heritage both in Scotland and across the UK. I urge people to go out and discover this heritage for themselves.”

Further information about the Declaration of Arbroath on is available on this website.

Details of the UNESCO Memory of the World Register are available on the United Kingdom National Commission for UNESCO website .