800th Anniversary of Magna Carta

Home / Uncategorized / 800th Anniversary of Magna Carta

800th Anniversary of Magna Carta

It’s the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, but what is it?

Magna Carta was issued by King John of England and was viewed as a solution to the political crisis which faced him in 1215. Its aim was to make peace between the crown and a group of rebellious barons. In 1213, a group of rebel barons had grievances with King John and renounced their oaths to him. They later captured London, thereby the king had little option other than negotiate with them. He and barons met at Runnymede and after discussions about demands, King John granted the Charter of Liberties, later to be known as Magna Carta. Thereby formal peace between the two was made.

Of the 63 clauses most of them were related directly to his rule, however a number of values have remained, challenging the monarchy in future centuries. Within the document, the principle that everyone, including the king, was subject to the law was codified; as was the principle that gave all ‘free men’ (free men being a small proportion of medieval England’s population. The majority were unfree) the right to a fair trial and justice.

The rest of the document dealt with the protection of church rights; limitations on payments to the crown; standardisation of weights and measures; ownership of land; regulation of the justice system; dismissal of several royal servants and a statement that no taxes could be demanded without general consent of the realm.

Despite the documents prominence in recent times, at the time it was rewritten within a decade, with a substantial part of the text deleted, and most of its clauses repealed. However, the Magna Carta is still seen as a cornerstone of democracy and of the British constitution. Out with England, the documents core principles can be felt in the United States Bill of Rights and other international documents, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Four copies of the document survive. They are held in Lincoln Cathedral; Salisbury Cathedral and two are in the British Library.

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment

Contact Us

Drop us a line and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt