T5:13/20: near to March, Cambridgeshire

Disk number 13 of the T5 series represents the 13th Century, 1200 to 1299.

Geograph 847338 by Keith Edkins t5 13 20

(Image: © Copyright Keith Edkins and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 License.)

There’s not much mystery about the main graphics here – it’s the Magna Carta, usually assigned to 1215. The Magna Carta is widely believed to be some great document enshrining the democratic rights of ordinary people. In reality, it was a typical political deal — in the words of Dan Jones in The Telegraph:

Politicians today love to invoke Magna Carta as a bulwark for the rights of the ordinary man. But it would be more accurate to say that Magna Carta’s clauses variously offered special legal protection for the Catholic Church and the aristocracy, advocated tax breaks for the wealthiest, freed the City of London from regulatory oversight, promised total freedom of immigration and placed the burden of infrastructure maintenance on local communities instead of government. Any party that stood on a platform that was true to the spirit of Magna Carta today would be massacred at the polls.

The image of a magnifying glass isn’t a pun on “magni-carta”, but a reference to Roger Bacon (1220 to 1292), who is believed to be the originator (or at least introducer) of the use of the magnifying glass for scientific purposes, probably around 1250.

The other noticeable feature of the disk is the profusion of rabbits. These refer to the famous puzzle posed by Leonardo Bonacci, also known as Fibonacci, in his book Liber Abaci (1202). Fibonacci considers the growth of rabbits, and assumes that a pair of rabbits, one male and one female, mate at the age of one month so that at the end of the second month a female can produce another pair of one male and one female rabbit. The puzzle was: how many pairs will there be after one year? The Fibonacci sequence — 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 etc. — is named after him.

Decoding the symbols using the Utopian Alphabet key, and flipping the lines vertically or horizontally, as necessary, gives:

s t t a p e s t r

e w a d e , o u r 

t i n a l l t h e

Which, at a rough guess, gives these fragments of ‘poetry’:

...st tapestr[y]
...e wade, our [...]
...t in all the [...]

I’m nearly half way through this series of 20 disks.



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3 responses to “T5:13/20: near to March, Cambridgeshire

  1. Richard Watson

    I like your blog. I started on this puzzle a couple of years ago and dip back in occasionally to see if any new disc pics have appeared online. I have already placed a comment but understand if you don’t want to show it as it is a big spoiler for your future posts. If you want to get in touch then my email is lahauteur@gmail.com, I am also trying to get in touch with others who have tackled this puzzle. Apparently the prize is yet to be claimed.



    • pb

      Hi Richard – yes I didn’t look at your spoiler message, obviously, but thanks anyway! 🙂 The journey is more important than the destination, or something like that. Besides, most of the fun is in looking at the disks… According to the spokesperson from Sustrans, only one person “completed” the puzzle. They’ve lost track of all the puzzle paraphernalia by now, of course, since 2001 was, well, ages ago. I’d also be interested in contacting the puzzle’s author, Charlie Harrow, but there’s no trace. Funny how the internet has not preserved full and copious details of something so recent – usually there’s an abundance of material!

      I’ve collected about 31 of the 50 disks so far. I wonder whether it’s possible to find every single one. Perhaps it won’t be.

      Thanks again for your interest.


  2. Richard

    I missed this reply, it is possible to collect what I think is the full set of disks. I have photos of all 51 but some are very poor quality. Like you, it is the journey that I think is important. I also had no luck with tracing Charlie Harrow.

    Liked by 1 person

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