Salisbury Cathedral said in a statement: "We can confirm that at the end of the afternoon yesterday, a man attempted to break into the case which houses [the] Magna Carta in the Cathedral's Chapter House". The man was being questioned by detectives today after an attempt was made to steal the manuscript. Staff were alerted and police were called.
"The layer that is closest to the document itself was completely untouched by the individual concerned, but his hammer did do some damage to the initial glass screen", cathedral dean the Very Reverend Nick Papadopoulos told the BBC.
The Magna Carta, one of four, was not damaged and nobody was injured, police said.
Dating back to 1215 the Magna Carta is a charter which includes over 60 clauses regarding the rules of the country, including the right to a fair trial.
The suspect was arrested on suspicion of attempted theft, possession of an offensive weapon and criminal damage.More news: Migrant convoy swells to 5000, heads to US
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There were "a number of witnesses" in the cathedral around 5 p.m. Thursday when, police say, the man simply attacked the glass box.
"The men really did a good job".
Salisbury Cathedral, which has been central to the Skripal poisoning case this year after Russian agents said they were visiting it's "world-famous 132m spire", proudly boasts of the iconic piece of history on its website.
The Magna Carta 1215 is known as the best surviving copy of the inconic document which is widely regarded as the foundation of the British constitutional.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II unveils a plaque at Runnymede, England, during a commemoration ceremony Monday June 15, 2015, to celebrate the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.