Lincoln's copy of the 800-year-old Magna Carta is currently on a tour of the US
A US worker came within seconds of destroying Lincoln's copy of the Magna Carta after nearly spraying it with a chemical cleaner.
The 800-year-old document is currently on display in New York, but almost met a sticky end thanks to an overzealous cleaner.
Lincoln Cathedral's archive conservation consultant Chris Woods accompanied the document, spending hours making sure the inked sheepskin which contains the charter of freedom, was placed correctly into a £42,000 vacuum-sealed display case to keep it safe from the elements.
And it was, until a lock briefly malfunctioned just as a workman tried to give it a last minute wipe with a chemical cleaner – potentially wiping history right off the page.
The New York Times reported that Mr Woods rushed over and took away the fluid before the vapours got to the script, saying: "Bleach it out nicely that would."
Lincoln Cathedral Dean Reverend Philip Buckler spoke to the Echo from New York yesterday.
"It was never in any serious danger," he said.
"We had the grand opening last night and people came from all over the US."
The document had travelled with an armed escort from Heathrow Airport in a climate controlled box as part of a programme of US tours which last saw it displayed at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in June.
Now it will wow visitors to the Fraunces Tavern Museum in Lower Manhattan until December 15.
Lincoln's copy of the Magna Carta is pretty much the only one of the original four that can travel – one is burnt, another unreadable, and the other too fragile.