HOUSTON — It was care fit for a king: The yellowing parchment was fitted inside a custom-designed case with monitors, then wrapped in specially made packaging. Once it was on the plane, a canon chancellor nervously tracked the flight as it crossed the Atlantic Ocean.
That document, a rarely seen copy of the Magna Carta, had never before left England’s shores and only once been outside its home in the Hereford Chapel near the Welsh border.
Now, the famous charter, written nearly 800 years ago and considered one of the most important documents in the history of democracy, is safely ensconced in the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences, where it will be part of an exhibit that opens Friday.
‘‘A very historic flight for us, and the cathedral and the document,’’ said Glyn Morgan, chief executive of the Hereford Cathedral Perpetual Trust, who accompanied the document on its trek and is helping ensure it is properly cared for during its stay in Houston.
It will be on display for six months before being whisked back for a celebration of its 800th anniversary. The Magna Carta, issued on June 15, 1215, was a pivotal document granting freedoms.