Griffin Challenges Establishment Politicians to Condemn the Hammer Attack
Carried out in Their Name
1. First, that we have granted to God, and by this present charter have confirmed for us and our heirs in perpetuity, that the English Church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished, and its liberties unimpaired. That we wish this so to be observed, appears from the fact that of our own free will, before the outbreak of the present dispute between us and our barons, we granted and confirmed by charter the freedom of the Church's elections - a right reckoned to be of the greatest necessity and importance to it - and caused this to be confirmed by Pope Innocent III. This freedom we shall observe ourselves, and desire to be observed in good faith by our heirs in perpetuity. We have also granted to all free men of our realm, for us and our heirs for ever, all the liberties written out below, to have and to keep for them and their heirs, of us and our heirs:
2. If any earl, baron, or other person that holds lands directly of the Crown, for military service, shall die, and at his death his heir shall be of full age and owe a `relief', the heir shall have his inheritance on payment of the ancient scale of `relief'. That is to say, the heir or heirs of an earl shall pay for the entire earl's barony, the heir or heirs of a knight l00s. at most for the entire knight's `fee', and any man that owes less shall pay less, in accordance with the ancient usage of `fees'
3. But if the heir of such a person is under age and a ward, when he comes of age he shall have his inheritance without `relief' or fine.
4. The guardian of the land of an heir who is under age shall take from it only reasonable revenues, customary dues, and feudal services. He shall do this without destruction or damage to men or property. If we have given the guardianship of the land to a sheriff, or to any person answerable to us for the revenues, and he commits destruction or damage, we will exact compensation from him, and the land shall be entrusted to two worthy and prudent men of the same `fee', who shall be answerable to us for the revenues, or to the person to whom we have assigned them. If we have given or sold to anyone the guardianship of such land, and he causes destruction or damage, he shall lose the guardianship of it, and it shall be handed over to two worthy and prudent men of the same `fee', who shall be similarly answerable to us.
5. For so long as a guardian has guardianship of such land, he shall maintain the houses, parks, fish preserves, ponds, mills, and everything else pertaining to it, from the revenues of the land itself. When the heir comes of age, he shall restore the whole land to him, stocked with plough teams and such implements of husbandry as the season demands and the revenues from the land can reasonably bear.
6. Heirs may be given in marriage, but not to someone of lower social standing. Before a marriage takes place, it shall be' made known to the heir's next-of-kin.
7. At her husband's death, a widow may have her marriage portion and inheritance at once and without trouble. She shall pay nothing for her dower, marriage portion, or any inheritance that she and her husband held jointly on the day of his death. She may remain in her husband's house for forty days after his death, and within this period her dower shall be assigned to her.
9. Neither we nor our officials will seize any land or rent in payment of a debt, so long as the debtor has movable goods sufficient to discharge the debt. A debtor's sureties shall not be distrained upon so long as the debtor himself can discharge his debt. If, for lack of means, the debtor is unable to discharge his debt, his sureties shall be answerable for it. If they so desire, they may have the debtor's lands and rents until they have received satisfaction for the debt that they paid for him, unless the debtor can show that he has settled his obligations to them.
10. If anyone who has borrowed a sum of money from Jews dies before the debt has been repaid, his heir shall pay no interest on the debt for so long as he remains under age, irrespective of whom he holds his lands. If such a debt falls into the hands of the Crown, it will take nothing except the principal sum specified in the bond.
11. If a man dies owing money to Jews, his wife may have her dower and pay nothing towards the debt from it. If he leaves children that are under age, their needs may also be provided for on a scale appropriate to the size of his holding of lands. The debt is to be paid out of the residue, reserving the service due to his feudal lords. Debts owed to persons other than Jews are to be dealt with similarly.
12. No `scutage' or `aid' may be levied in our kingdom without its general consent, unless it is for the ransom of our person, to make our eldest son a knight, and (once) to marry our eldest daughter. For these purposes ouly a reasonable `aid' may be levied. `Aids' from the city of London are to be treated similarly.
13. The city of London shall enjoy all its ancient liberties and free customs, both by land and by water. We also will and grant that all other cities, boroughs, towns, and ports shall enjoy all their liberties and free customs.
14. To obtain the general consent of the realm for the assessment of an `aid' - except in the three cases specified above - or a `scutage', we will cause the archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, and greater barons to be summoned individually by letter. To those who hold lands directly of us we will cause a general summons to be issued, through the sheriffs and other officials, to come together on a fixed day (of which at least forty days notice shall be given) and at a fixed place. In all letters of summons, the cause of the summons will be stated. When a summons has been issued, the business appointed for the day shall go forward in accordance with the resolution of those present, even if not all those who were summoned have appeared.
15. In future we will allow no one to levy an `aid' from his free men, except to ransom his person, to make his eldest son a knight, and (once) to marry his eldest daughter. For these purposes only a reasonable `aid' may be levied.
16. No man shall be forced to perform more service for a knight's `fee', or other free holding of land, than is due from it.
17. Ordinary lawsuits shall not follow the royal court around, but shall be held in a fixed place.
18. Inquests of novel disseisin, mort d'ancestor, and darrein presentment shall be taken only in their proper county court. We ourselves, or in our absence abroad our chief justice, will send two justices to each county four times a year, and these justices, with four knights of the county elected by the county itself, shall hold the assizes in the county court, on the day and in the place where the court meets.
19. If any assizes cannot be taken on the day of the county court, as many knights and freeholders shall afterwards remain behind, of those who have attended the court, as will suffice for the administration of justice, having regard to the volume of business to be done.
20. For a trivial offence, a free man shall be fined only in proportion to the degree of his offence, and for a serious offence correspondingly, but not so heavily as to deprive him of his livelihood. In the same way, a merchant shall be spared his merchandise, and a husbandman the implements of his husbandry, if they fall upon the mercy of a royal court. None of these fines shall be imposed except by the assessment on oath of reputable men of the neighbourhood.
21. Earls and barons shall not be amerced save through their peers, and only according to the measure of the offence.
22. No clerk shall be amerced for his lay tenement ecept according to the manner of the other persons aforesaid; and not according to the amount of his ecclesiastical benefice.
23. Neither a town nor a man shall be forced to make bridges over the rivers, with the exception of those who, from of old and of right ought to do it.
24. No sheriff, constable, coroners, or other bailiffs of ours shall hold the pleas of our crown.
25. All counties, hundreds, wapentakes, and trithings--our demesne manors being exccepted--shall continue according to the old farms, without any increase at all.
26. If any one holding from us a lay fee shall die, and our sheriff or bailiff can show our letters patent containing our summons for the debt which the dead man owed to us,--our sheriff or bailiff may be allowed to attach and enroll the chattels of the dead man to the value of that debt, through view of lawful men; in such way, however, that nothing shall be removed thence until the debt is paid which was plainly owed to us. And the residue shall be left to the executors that they may carry out the will of the dead man. And if nothing is owed to us by him, all the chattels shall go to the use prescribed by the deceased, saving their reasonable portions to his wife and children.
27. If any freeman shall have died intestate his chattels shall be distributed through the hands of his near relatives and friends, by view of the church; saving to any one the debts which the dead man owed him.
28. No constable or other bailiff of ours shall take the corn or other chattels of any one except he straightway give money for them, or can be allowed a respite in that regard by the will of the seller.
29. No constable shall force any knight to pay money for castleward if he be willing to perform that ward in person, or--he for a reasonable cause not being able to perform it himself--through another proper man. And if we shall have led or sent him on a military expedition, he shall be quit of ward according to the amount of time during which, through us, he shall have been in military service.
30. No sheriff nor bailiff of ours, nor any one else, shall take the horses or carts of any freeman for transport, unless by the will of that freeman.
31. Neither we nor our bailiffs shall take another's wood for castles or for other private uses, unless by the will of him to whom the wood belongs.
32. We shall not hold the lands of those convicted of felony longer than a year and a day; and then the lands shall be restored to the lords of the fiefs.
33. Henceforth all the weirs in the Thames and Medway, and throughout all England, save on the sea-coast, shall be done away with entirely.
34. Henceforth the writ which is called Praecipe shall not be to served on any one for any holding so as to cause a free man to lose his court.
35. There shall be one measure of wine throughout our whole realm, and one measure of ale and one measure of corn--namely, the London quart;--and one width of dyed and russet and hauberk cloths--namely, two ells below the selvage. And with weights, moreover, it shall be as with measures.
36. Henceforth nothing shall be given or taken for a writ of inquest in a matter concerning life or limb; but it shall be conceded gratis, and shall not be denied.
37. If any one hold of us in fee-farm, or in socage, or in burkage, and hold land of another by military service, we shall not, by reason of that fee-farm, or socage, or burkage, have the wardship of his heir or of his land which is held in fee from another. Nor shall we have the wardship of that fee-farm, or socage, or burkage unless that fee-farm owe military service. We shall not, by reason of some petit-serjeanty which some one holds of us through the service of giving us knives or arrows or the like, have the wardship of his heir or of the land which he holds of another by military service.
38. No bailiff, on his own simple assertion, shall henceforth any one to his law, without producing faithful witnesses in evidence.
39. No freeman shall be taken, or imprisoned, or disseized, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any way harmed--nor will we go upon or send upon him--save by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.
40. To none will we sell, to none deny or delay, right or justice.
41. All merchants may safely and securely go out of England, and come into England, and delay and pass through England, as well by land as by water, for the purpose of buying and selling, free from all evil taxes, subject to the ancient and right customs--save in time of war, and if they are of the land at war against us. And if such be found in our land at the beginning of the war, they shall be held, without harm to their bodies and goods, until it shall be known to us or our chief justice how the merchants of our land are to be treated who shall, at that time, be found in the land at war against us. And if ours shall be safe there, the others shall be safe in our land.
42. Henceforth any person, saving fealty to us, may go out of our realm and return to it, safely and securely, by land and by water, except perhaps for a brief period in time of war, for the common good of the realm. But prisoners and outlaws are excepted according to the law of the realm; also people of a land at war against us, and the merchants, with regard to whom shall be done as we have said.
43. If any one hold from any escheat--as from the honour of Walingford, Nottingham, Boloin, Lancaster, or the other escheats which are in our hands and are baronies--and shall die, his heir shall not give another relief, nor shall he perform for us other service than he would perform for a baron if that barony were in the hand of a baron; and we shall hold it in the same way in which the baron has held it.
44. Persons dwelling without the forest shall not henceforth come before the forest justices, through common summonses, unless they are impleaded or are the sponsors of some person or persons attached for matters concerning the forest.
45. We will not make men justices, constables, sheriffs, or bailiffs unless they are such as know the law of the realm, and are minded to observe it rightly.
46. All barons who have founded abbeys for which they have charters of the king of England, or ancient right of tenure, shall have, as they ought to have, their custody when vacant.
47- A11 forests constituted as such in our time shall straightway be annulled; and the same shall be done for river banks made into places of defence by us in our time.
48. A11 evil customs concerning forests and warrens, and concerning foresters and warreners, sheriffs and their servants, river banks and their guardians, shall straightway be inquired into each county, through twelve sworn knights from that county, and shall be eradicated by them, entirely, so that they shall never be renewed, within forty days after the inquest has been made; in such manner that we shall first know about them, or our justice if we be not in England.
49. We shall straightway return all hostages and charters which were delivered to us by Englishmen as a surety for peace or faithful service.
50. We shall entirey remove from their bailwicks the relatives of Gerard de Athyes, so that they shall henceforth have no bailwick in England: Engelard de Cygnes, Andrew Peter and Gyon de Chanceles, Gyon de Cygnes, Geoffrey de Martin and his brothers, Philip Mark and his brothers, and Geoffrey his nephew, and the whole following of them.
51. And straightway after peace is restored we shall remove from the realm all the foreign soldiers, crossbowmen, servants, hirelings, who may have come with horses and arms to the harm of the realm.
52. If any one shall have been disseized by us, or removed, without a legal sentence of his peers, from his lands, castles, liberties or lawful right, we shall straightway restore them to him. And if a dispute shall arise concerning this matter it shall be settled according to the judgment of the twenty-five barons who are mentioned below as sureties for the peace. But with regard to all those things of which any one was, by king Henry our father or king Richard our brother, disseized or dispossessed without legal judgment of his peers, which we have in our hand or which others hold, and for which we ought to give a guarantee: We shall have respite until the common term for crusaders. Except with regard to those concerning which a plea was moved, or an inquest made by our order, before we took the cross. But when we return from our pilgrimage, or if, by chance, we desist from our pilgrimage, we shall straightway then show full justice regarding them.
53. We shall have the same respite, moreover, and in the same manner, in the matter of showing justice with regard to forests to be annulled and forests to remain, which Henry our father or Richard our brother constituted; and in the matter of wardships of lands which belong to the fee of another--wardships of which kind we have hitherto enjoyed by reason of the fee which some one held from us in military service;--and in the matter of abbeys founded in the fee of another than ourselves--in which the lord of the fee may say that he has jurisdiction. And when we return, or if we desist from our pilgrimage, we shall straightway exhibit full justice to those complaining with regard to these matters.
54. No one shall be taken or imprisoned on account of the appeal of a woman concerning the death of another than her husband.
55. All fines imposed by us unjustly and contrary to the law of the land, and all amerciaments made unjustly and contrary to the law of the land, shall be altogether remitted, or it shall be done with regard to them according to the judgment of the twenty five barons mentioned below as sureties for the peace, or according to the judgment of the majority of them together with the aforesaid Stephen archbishop of Canterbury, if he can be present, and with others whom he may wish to associate with himself for this purpose. And if he can not be present, the affair shall nevertheless proceed without him; in such way that, if one or more of the said twenty five barons shall be concerned in a similar complaint, they shall be removed as to this particular decision, and, in their place, for this purpose alone, others shall be subtituted who shall be chosen and sworn by the remainder of those twenty five.
56. If we have disseized or dispossessed Welshmen of their lands or liberties or other things without legal judgment of their peers, in England or in Wales,--they shall straightway be restored to them. And if a dispute shall arise concerning this, then action shall be taken upon it in the March through judgment of their peers- -concerning English holdings according to the law of England, concerning Welsh holdings according to the law of Wales, concerning holdings in the March according to the law of the March. The Welsh shall do likewise with regard to us and our subjects.
57. But with regard to all those things of which any one of the Welsh by king Henry our father or king Richard our brother, disseized or dispossessed without legal judgment of his peers, which we have in our hand or which others hold, and for which we ought to give a guarantee: we shall have respite until the common term for crusaders. Except with regard to those concerning which a plea was moved, or an inquest made by our order, before we took the cross. But when we return from our pilgrimage, or if, by chance, we desist from our pilgrimage, we shall straightway then show full justice regarding them, according to the laws of Wales and the aforesaid districts.
58. We shall straightway return the son of Llewelin and all the Welsh hostages, and the charters delivered to us as surety for the peace.
59. We shall act towards Alexander king of the Scots regarding the restoration of his sisters, and his hostages, and his liberties and his lawful right, as we shall act towards our other barons of England; unless it ought to be otherwise according to the charters which we hold from William, his father, the former king of the Scots. And this shall be done through judgment of his peers in our court.
60. Moreover all the subjects of our realm, clergy as well as laity, shall, as far as pertains to them, observe, with regard to their vassals, all these aforesaid customs and liberties which we have decreed shall, as far as pertains to us, be observed in our realm with regard to our own.
61. Inasmuch as, for the sake of God, and for the bettering of our realm, and for the more ready healing of the discord which has arisen between us and our barons, we have made all these aforesaid concessions,--wishing them to enjoy for ever entire and firm stability, we make and grant to them the folIowing security: that the baron, namely, may elect at their pleaure twenty five barons from the realm, who ought, with all their strength, to observe, maintain and cause to be observed, the peace and privileges which we have granted to them and confirmed by this our present charter. In such wise, namely, that if we, or our justice, or our bailiffs, or any one of our servants shall have transgressed against any one in any respect, or shall have broken one of the articles of peace or security, and our transgression shall have been shown to four barons of the aforesaid twenty five: those four barons shall come to us, or, if we are abroad, to our justice, showing to us our error; and they shall ask us to cause that error to be amended without delay. And if we do not amend that error, or, we being abroad, if our justice do not amend it within a term of forty days from the time when it was shown to us or, we being abroad, to our justice: the aforesaid four barons shall refer the matter to the remainder of the twenty five barons, and those twenty five barons, with the whole land in common, shall distrain and oppress us in every way in their power,--namely, by taking our castles, lands and possessions, and in every other way that they can, until amends shall have been made according to their judnnent. Saving the persons of ourselves, our queen and our children. And when amends shall have been made they shall be in accord with us as they had been previously. And whoever of the land wishes to do so, shall swear that in carrying out all the aforesaid measures he will obey the mandates of the aforesaid twenty five barons, and that, with them, he will oppress us to the extent of his power. And, to any one who wishes to do so, we publicly and freely give permission to swear; and we will never prevent any one from swearing. Moreover, all those in the land who shall be unwilling, themselves and of their own accord, to swear to the twenty five barons as to distraining and oppressing us with them: such ones we shall make to wear by our mandate, as has been said. And if any one of the twenty five barons shall die, or leave the country, or in any other way be prevented from carrying out the aforesaid measures,--the remainder of the aforesaid twenty five barons shall choose another in his place, according to their judgment, who shall be sworn in the same way as the others. Moreover, in all things entrusted to those twenty five barons to be carried out, if those twenty five shall be present and chance to disagree among themselves with regard to some matter, or if some of them, having been summoned, shall be unwilling or unable to be present: that which the majority of those present shall decide or decree shall be considered binding and valid, just as if all the twenty five had consented to it. And the aforesaid twenty five shall swear that they will faithfully observe all the foregoing, and will caue them be observed to the extent of their power. And we shall obtain nothing from any one, either through ourselves or through another, by which any of those concessions and liberties may be revoked or diminished. And if any such thing shall have been obtained, it shall be vain and invalid, and we shall never make use of it either through ourselves or through another.
62. And we have fully remitted to all, and pardoned, all the ill- will, anger and rancour which have arisen between us and our subjects, clergy and laity, from the time of the struggle. Moreover have fully remitted to all, clergy and laity, and--as far as pertains to us--have pardoned fully all the transgressions committed, on the occasion of that same struggle, from Easter of the sixteenth year of our reign until the re-establishment of peace. In witness of which, more-over, we have caused to be drawn up for them letters patent of lord Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury, lord Henry, archbishop of Dubland the aforesaid bishops and master Pandulf, regarding that surety and the aforesaid concessions.
63. Wherefore we will and firmly decree that the English church shall be free, and that the subjects of our realm shall have and hold all the aforesaid liberties, rights and concessions, duly and in peace, freely and quietly, fully and entirely, for themselves and their heirs from us and our heirs, in all matters and in all places, forever, as has been said. Moreover it has been sworn, on our part as well as on the part of the barons, that all these above mentioned provisions shall observed with good faith and without evil intent. The witnesses being the above mentioned and many others. Given through our hand, in the plain called Runnymede between Windsor and Stanes, on the fifteenth day of June, in the seventeenth year of our reign.
Roger of Wendover: The Signing of Magna Carta at Runnymede, 1215
Rudyard Kipling Poem: What
Say the Reeds at Runnymede?
I can't find many people who agree with
this failed attempt at thought control, yet the great majority of us
still feel inhibited and tongue tied by it.
A few years ago our mainstream media covered the situation whereby certain Taliban types were being given "Asylum" in this country, despite the fact that we are at WAR with them and that "Army Tanks" were protecting Heathrow Airport from terrorist attacks.
It is enough to make any sane person give up in despair !
This giving up in despair is exactly what many people believe is the long term agenda of the "PC Fascists"
The Politically Correct are achieving their ends by the non stop daily
bombardment of accusations ( Brainwashing
) aimed at the mainstream population. To make them feel that they are
guilty of some sort of "ism" or another, or being "phobic"
about yet something else weird and wonderful, that they just don't have
any interest in.
Here in Notting Hill just a few days ago, I was talking to someone
in one of my local pubs and they mentioned this new idea of putting
Cigarettes under the counter out of sight of minors, and he was genuinely
"Gobsmacked" by the notion, and also made reference to the
way that Fireworks are treated in the same way. In the past this chap
had also remarked about the low turnout at election times in this country.
Perhaps the most blatant little tactic used by the "PC Fascists"
is the use of the Asylum issue ( Basic arithmetic - two into one does
not go ! ) to dish out accusations of racism.
We now have such a huge number of Asylum ( Arithmetic ) related problems,
that they could very easily degenerate into racial / social unrest.
Before anyone flails me for highlighting the differences in colour, this is just a convenient way of underlining the fact that the "Native British" will have been deliberately and cold bloodedly displaced from their own Capital City !
Now that's Racism ! Who decided that this should be done to us ?
There are tens of thousand muggings a year in London alone, and again
by the Governments own figures this is massively, overwhelmingly, a
Black on White crime, frequently accompanied by a sickening level of
race - hate violence, and even death.
This combined with "Positive Discrimination" for ethnic minorities at every level, in every area of our life, is how the ethnic cleansing is being carried out.
Meanwhile, Asylum / Giro seekers continue to ignore
asylum in all other European countries, in favour of the UK.
The United Nations rule on
asylum is that asylum seekers must seek asylum in the first non oppressive
country that they come to. They are not supposed to "Shop Around"
for the country with the best "Freebies"
But if you are British White don't you dare say anything, or you will
be branded as a racist !
( And don't forget what happened to Robin
Page and Mark
Walker, or the deafening silence surrounding the murders of Kriss
Donald, Gavin Hopley, BNP activist Keith
Brown, and countless other British
White victims swept under the carpet and ignored ! )
Two into one does not go, that's Arithmetic, not racism !
At the start of this article I mentioned Magna Carta and our Democratic Power, from which sprang the first ever democracy, yes, it was WE the British who invented democracy !
I would say to the BNP
... Let's get Magna Carta back on the agenda, BIG TIME !!!
I would like to see the BNP make it a policy to promote on a poster
or the like, outside of every School and Town Hall in which they gain
influence, the principles of Magna Carta, and how it reflects from street
level all the way to top.
Bearing in mind of course, that it should be our democratically elected
representatives, promoted by the man in the street ( That means YOU
! ) that our legislators should be listening to, and not some moaning,
ever accusing, self seeking, Marxist promoted, local community / tribal
If the man in the street
had not been "Deliberately" gradually psychologically disempowerd
since the end of the Second World War, we would not be in the terrible
mess we are in today.
It is the Internet that has saved the day and made all of the hidden
facts available to the man in the street, and it is inevitable that
eventually the Internet will Democratise the world. When I first came
into contact with the Internet around about 1998, I can remember saying
that what the Steam Engine did for the Human race technically, the Internet
will do for us socially.
As I have already stated above ... Let's get Magna Carta back on the agenda, BIG TIME !!!As a final word I will say NEVER use the postal voting system, it is too open to abuse and the powers that be know this. That is why they adopted it despite warnings from all of the experts. Any future "Online" voting system should also be treated with even greater contempt.
My own view is that it should be compulsory to get your rear end in gear once a year, and vote at election time.
However, you should have the option of ticking a box that says "Abstain"
Carta From Wikipedia.
Magna Carta (Latin for Great Charter, literally "Great Paper"), also called Magna Carta Libertatum (Great Charter of Freedoms), is an English legal charter, originally issued in the year 1215. It was written in Latin.
Magna Carta required King John of England to proclaim certain rights (pertaining to nobles and barons), respect certain legal procedures, and accept that his will could be bound by the law. It explicitly protected certain rights of the King's subjects, whether free or fettered-most notably the writ of habeas corpus, allowing appeal against unlawful imprisonment.
Magna Carta was arguably the most significant early influence on the extensive historical process that led to the rule of constitutional law today in the English speaking world. Magna Carta influenced the development of the common law and many constitutional documents, including the United States Constitution.  Many clauses were renewed throughout the Middle Ages, and continued to be renewed as late as the 18th century. By the second half of the 19th century, however, most clauses in their original form had been repealed from English law.
Magna Carta was the first document forced onto an English King by a group of his subjects (the barons) in an attempt to limit his powers by law and protect their privileges. It was preceded by the 1100 Charter of Liberties in which King Henry I voluntarily stated what his own powers were under the law.
In practice, Magna Carta in the Medieval period mostly did not limit the power of Kings; but by the time of the English Civil War it had become an important symbol for those who wished to show that the King was bound by the law.
Magna Carta is normally understood to refer to a single document, that of 1215. Various amended versions of Magna Carta appeared in subsequent years however, and it is the 1297 version which remains on the statute books of England and Wales.
But after King John of England was crowned in the early 13th century, a series of failures at home and abroad, combined with perceived abuses of the king's power, led the English barons to revolt and attempt to restrain what the king could legally do.
When John later married Isabella of Angoulême, her previous fiancé (Hugh IX of Lusignan, one of John's vassals) appealed to Philip, who then declared forfeit all of John's French lands, including the rich Normandy. Philip declared Arthur as the true ruler of the Anjou throne and invaded John's French holdings in mid-1202 to give it to him. John had to act to save face, but his eventual actions did not achieve this-Arthur disappeared in suspicious circumstances, and John was widely believed to have murdered him, thus losing the little support he had from his French barons.
After the defeat of John's allies at the Battle of Bouvines, Philip retained all of John's northern French territories, including Normandy (although Aquitaine remained in English hands for a time). These serious military defeats, which lost to the English a major source of income, made John unpopular at home. Worse, to recoup his expenses, he had to further tax the already unhappy barons.
But in the early 13th century, the bishops began to want a say. To retain control, the monks elected one of their numbers to the role. But John, incensed at his lack of involvement in the proceedings, sent John de Gray, the Bishop of Norwich, to Rome as his choice. Pope Innocent III declared both choices invalid and persuaded the monks to elect Stephen Langton. Nevertheless, John refused to accept this choice and exiled the monks from the realm. Infuriated, Innocent ordered an interdict (prevention of public worship - mass, marriages, the ringing of church bells, etc.) in England in 1208, excommunicated John in 1209, and encouraged Philip to invade England in 1212.
John finally backed down and agreed to endorse Langton and allow the exiles to return. To completely placate the pope, he gave England and Ireland as papal territories and rented them back as a fiefdom for 1,000 marks per annum. This surrender of autonomy to a foreign power further enraged the barons.
John relied on clever manipulation of pre-existing rights, including those of forest law, a set of regulations about the kings hunting preserves, which were easily broken and severely punished. John also increased the pre-existing scutage (feudal payment to an overlord replacing direct military service) eleven times in his seventeen years as king, as compared to eleven times in twice that period covering three monarchs before him. The last two of these increases were double the increase of their predecessors. He also imposed the first income tax, which raised what was, at the time, the extortionate sum of £70,000.
Rebellion and signing of the document
The most significant clause for King John at the time was clause 61, known as the "security clause", the longest portion of the document. This established a committee of 25 barons who could at any time meet and overrule the will of the King, through force by seizing his castles and possessions if needed. This was based on a medieval legal practice known as distraint, but it was the first time it had been applied to a monarch. In addition, the King was to take an oath of loyalty to the committee.
Clause 61 essentially neutered John's power as a monarch, making him King in name only. He renounced it as soon as the barons left London, plunging England into a civil war, called the First Barons' War. Pope Innocent III also annulled the "shameful and demeaning agreement, forced upon the King by violence and fear." He rejected any call for restraints on the King, saying it impaired John's dignity. He saw it as an affront to the Church's authority over the King and the 'papal territories' of England and Ireland, and he released John from his oath to obey it.
Magna Carta re-issued
Henry's regentis reissued Magna Carta in his name on 12 November 1216, omitting some clauses, such as clause 61, and again in 1217. When he turned 18 in 1225, Henry III reissued Magna Carta, this time in a shorter version with only 37 articles.
Henry III ruled for 56 years (the longest reign of an English Monarch in the Medieval period) so that by the time of his death in 1272, Magna Carta had become a settled part of English legal precedent.
Henry III's son and heir Edward I's Parliament reissued Magna Carta for the final time on 12 October 1297, as part of a statute called Confirmatio cartarum, reconfirming Henry III's shorter version of Magna Carta from 1225.
Content Magna Carta was originally written in Latin. A large part of Magna Carta was copied, nearly word for word, from the Charter of Liberties of Henry I, issued when Henry I ascended to the throne in 1100, which bound the king to certain laws regarding the treatment of church officials and nobles, effectively granting certain civil liberties to the church and the English nobility.
Magna carta cum statutis angliae, (Great Charter with English Statutes) page 1 of manuscript, fourteenth century.The document commonly known as Magna Carta today is not the 1215 charter but a later charter of 1225, and is usually shown in the form of The Charter of 1297 when it was confirmed by Edward I. At the time of the 1215 charter, many of the provisions were not meant to make long term changes but simply to right the immediate wrongs, and therefore The Charter was reissued three times in the reign of Henry III (1216, 1217 and 1225) in order to provide for an updated version. After this, each individual king for the next two hundred years (until Henry V in 1416) personally confirmed the 1225 charter in his own charter.
Rights still in force today
As the most recent version, it is the 1297 Charter which remains in legal force in England and Wales. Using the clauses in the 1297 charter (the content and numbering are somewhat different from the 1215 Charter): Clause 1 guarantees the freedom of the English Church. Although this originally meant freedom from the King, later in history it was used for different purposes (see below). Clause 9 guarantees the ancient liberties of the City of London. Clause 29 guarantees a right to due process.
I. FIRST, We have granted to God, and by this our present Charter have confirmed, for Us and our Heirs for ever, that the Church of England shall be free, and shall have all her whole Rights and Liberties inviolable. We have granted also, and given to all the Freemen of our Realm, for Us and our Heirs for ever, these Liberties under-written, to have and to hold to them and their Heirs, of Us and our Heirs for ever. IX. THE City of London shall have all the old Liberties and Customs which it hath been used to have. Moreover We will and grant, that all other Cities, Boroughs, Towns, and the Barons of the Five Ports, and all other Ports, shall have all their Liberties and free Customs. XXIX. NO Freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will We not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the Land. We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either Justice or Right. The repeal of clause 26 in 1829  was the first time a clause of Magna Carta was repealed. With the document's perceived protected status broken, in 150 years nearly the whole charter was repealed, leaving just Clauses 1, 9, and 29 still in force after 1969. Most of it was repealed in England and Wales by the Statute Law Revision Act 1863, and in Ireland by the Statute Law (Ireland) Revision Act 1872.
Feudal rights still in place in 1225
Feudal rights not in the 1225 charter
The other clauses state that no one may seize land in debt except as a last resort; that underage heirs and widows should not pay interest on inherited loans; that county rents will stay at their ancient amounts; and that the crown may only seize the value owed in payment of a debt, that aid (taxes for warfare or other emergency) must be reasonable, and that scutage (literally, shield-payment, payment in lieu of actual military service used to finance warfare) may only be sought with the consent of the kingdom.
Clause 14 states that the common consent of the kingdom was to be sought from a council of the archbishops, bishops, earls and greater Barons. This later became the great council, which led to the first parliament.
Clause 24 states that crown officials (such as sheriffs) may not try a crime in place of a judge. Clause 34 forbids repossession without a writ precipe. Clauses 36 to 38 state that writs for loss of life or limb are to be free, that someone may use reasonable force to secure their own land, and that no one can be tried on their own testimony alone.
Clauses 36, 38, 39 and 40 collectively define the right of Habeas Corpus. Clause 36 requires courts to make inquiries as to the whereabouts of a prisoner, and to do so without charging any fee. Clause 38 requires more than the mere word of an official, before any person could be put on trial. Clause 39 gives the courts exclusive rights to punish anyone. Clause 40 disallows the selling or the delay of justice. Clauses 36 and 38 were removed from the 1225 version, but were reinstated in later versions. The right of Habeas Corpus as such was first invoked in court in the year 1305.
Clause 54 says that no man may be imprisoned on the testimony of a woman except on the death of her husband.
Anti-corruption and fair trade
Clause 35 sets out a list of standard measures, and Clauses 41 and 42 guarantee the safety and right of entry and exit of foreign merchants.
Clause 45 says that the King should only appoint royal officers where they are suitable for the post. In the United States, the Supreme Court of California interpreted clause 45 in 1974 as establishing a requirement at common law that a defendant faced with the potential of incarceration is entitled to a trial overseen by a law-trained judge.
Clause 46 provides for the guardianship of monasteries.
Article 50 states that no member of the DAthée family may be a royal officer. Article 51 calls for all foreign knights and mercenaries to leave the realm.
Articles 60, 62 and 63 provide for the application and observation of the Charter and say that the Charter is binding on the King and his heirs forever, but this was soon deemed dependent on each succeeding king reaffirming the Charter under his own seal.
The Great Council only existed to give input on the opinion of the kingdom as a whole, and it only had power to control scutage until 1258 when Henry III got into debt fighting in Sicily for the pope. The barons agreed to a tax in exchange for reform, leading to the Provisions of Oxford. But Henry got a papal bull allowing him to set aside the provisions and in 1262 told royal officers to ignore the provisions and only to obey Magna Carta. The barons revolted and seized the Tower of London, the Cinque ports and Gloucester. Initially the King surrendered, but when Louis IX of France arbitrated in favour of Henry, Henry crushed the rebellion. Later he ceded somewhat, passing the Statute of Marlborough in 1267, which allowed writs for breaches of Magna Carta to be free of charge, enabling anyone to have standing to apply the Charter.
This secured the position of the Great Council forever, but its powers were still very limited. The council originally only met three times per year and so was subservient to the Kings council, Curiae Regis, who, unlike the Great Council, followed the king wherever he went.
Still, in some senses the council was an early form of parliament. It had the power to meet outside the authority of the King and was not appointed by him. While executive government descends from the Curiae Regis, parliament descends from the Great Council, which was later called the parliamentum. However, the Great Council was very different from modern parliament. There were no knights, let alone commons, and it was composed of the most powerful men, rather than elected citizens.
Magna Carta had little effect on subsequent development of parliament until the Tudor period. Knights and county representatives attended the Great Council (Simon de Montforts Parliament), and the council became far more representative under the model parliament of Edward I which included two knights from each county, two burgesses from each borough and two citizens from each city. The Commons separated from the Lords in 1341. The right of the Commons to exclusively sanction taxes (based on a withdrawn provision of Magna Carta) was re-asserted in 1407, although it was not in force in this period. The power vested in the Great Council by, albeit withdrawn, Clause 14 of Magna Carta became vested in the House of Commons but Magna Carta was all but forgotten for about a century, until the Tudors.
First uses of the charter as a bill of rights
The church often attempted to invoke the first clause of the Charter to protect itself from the attacks by Henry, but this claim was given no credence. Francis Bacon was the first to try to use Clause 39 to guarantee due process in a trial.
Although there was a re-awakening of the use of Magna Carta in common law, it was not seen (as it was later) as an entrenched set of liberties guaranteed for the people against the Crown and Government. Rather, it was a normal statute, which gave a certain level of liberties, most of which could not be relied on, least of all against the king. Therefore, the Charter had little effect on the governance of the early Tudor period. Although lay parliament evolved from the Charter, by this stage the powers of parliament had managed to exceed those humble beginnings. The Charter had no real effect until the Elizabethan age.
Reinterpretation of the charter
The Charter was interpreted as an attempt to return to a pre-Norman state of things. The Tudors saw the Charter as proof that their state of governance had existed since time immemorial and the Normans had been a brief break from this liberty and democracy. This claim is disputed in certain circles but explains how Magna Carta came to be regarded as such an important document.
Magna Carta again occupied legal minds, and it again began to shape how that government was run. Soon the Charter was seen as an immutable entity. In the trial of Arthur Hall for questioning the antiquity of the House, one of his alleged crimes was an attack on Magna Carta.
Edward Cokes opinions
Magna Cartas role in the lead-up to
the Civil War
It was not the content of the Charter which has made it so important in the history of England, but more how it has been perceived in the popular mind. This is something that certainly started in the Stuart period, as the Charter represented many things, which are not to be found in the Charter itself. Firstly it was used to claim liberties against the Government in general rather than just the Crown and the officers of the crown, secondly that it represented that the laws and liberties of England, specifically Parliament, dated back to a time immemorial and thirdly, that it was not only just but right to usurp a king who disobeyed the law.
For the last of these reasons Magna Carta began to represent a danger to the monarchy; Elizabeth ordered that John Coke stop a bill from going through Parliament which would have reaffirmed the validity of the Charter, and Charles I ordered the suppression of a book which Coke intended to write on Magna Carta. The powers of Parliament were growing, and on Cokes death, parliament ordered his house to be searched; the manuscripts were recovered, and the book was published in 1642 (at the end of Charles I's Personal Rule). Parliament began to see Magna Carta as its best way of claiming supremacy over the crown and began to state that they were the sworn defenders of the liberties - fundamental and immemorial - which were to be found in the Charter.
In the four centuries since the Charter had originally catered for their creation, Parliaments power had increased greatly from their original level where they existed only for the purpose that the king had to seek their permission in order to raise scutage. They had become the only body allowed to raise tax, a right which although descended from the 1215 Great Charter was not guaranteed by it, since it was removed from the 1225 edition. Parliament had become so powerful that the Charter was being used both by those wishing to limit Parliament's power (as a new organ of the Crown), and by those who wished Parliament to rival the king's power (as a set of principles Parliament was sworn to defend against the king). When it became obvious that some people wished to limit the power of Parliament by claiming it to be tantamount to the crown, Parliament claimed they had the sole right of interpretation of the Charter.
This was an important step; for the first time Parliament was claiming itself a body as above the law; whereas one of the fundamental principles in English law was that the law, Parliament, the monarch, and the church held all, albeit to different extents. Parliament was claiming exactly what Magna Carta wanted to prevent the king from claiming, a claim of not being subject to any higher form of power. This was not claimed until ten years after the death of Lord Coke, but he would not have agreed with this, because he claimed in the English Constitution the law was supreme and all bodies of government were subservient to the supreme law, which is to say the common law, as embodied in the Great Charter. These early discussions of Parliament sovereignty seemed to only involve the Charter as the entrenched law, and the discussions were simply about whether Parliament had enough power to repeal the document.
Although it was important for Parliament to be able to claim themselves more powerful than the King in the forthcoming struggle, the Charter provided for this very provision. Clause 61 of the Charter enables people to swear allegiance to what became the Great Council and later Parliament and therefore to renounce allegiance to the king. Moreover, Clause 61 allowed for the seizing of the kingdom by the body which later became Parliament if Magna Carta was not respected by the king or Lord Chief Justice. So there was no need to show any novel level of power in order to overthrow the king; it had already been set out in Magna Carta nearly half a millennium before. Parliament was not ready to repeal the Charter yet however, and in fact, it was cited as the reason why ship money was illegal (the first time Parliament overruled the king).
Trial of Archbishop Laud
Civil War and interregnum
In this time of foment, there were many revolutionary theorists, and many based their theories at least initially on Magna Carta, in the misguided belief that Magna Carta guaranteed liberty and equality for all.
The Levellers believed that all should be equal and free without distinction of class or status. They believed that Magna Carta was the political bible, which should be prized above any other law and that it could not be repealed. They prized it so highly that they believed all (such as Archbishop Laud) who trod Magna Carta under their feet deserved to be attacked at all levels. The original idea was to achieve this through Parliament but there was little support, because at the time the Parliament was seeking to impose itself as above Magna Carta. The Levellers claimed Magna Carta was above any branch of government, and this led to the upper echelons of the Leveller movement denouncing Parliament. They claimed that Parliaments primary purpose was not to rule the people directly but to protect the people from the extremes of the King; they claimed that Magna Carta adequately did this and therefore Parliament should be subservient to it.
After the Civil War, Cromwell refused to support the Levellers and was denounced as a traitor to Magna Carta. The importance of Magna Carta was greatly magnified in the eyes of the Levellers. John Lilburne, one of the leaders of the movement, was known for his great advocacy of the Charter and was often known to explain its purpose to lay people and to expose the misspeaking against it in the popular press of the time. He was quoted as saying the ground and foundation of my freedome I build upon the grand charter of England. However, as it became apparent that Magna Carta did not grant the level of liberty demanded by the Levellers, the movement reduced its advocacy of it. William Walwyn, another leader of the movement, advocated natural law and other doctrines as the primary principles of the movement. This was mainly because the obvious intention of Magna Carta was to grant rights only to the barons and the episcopacy, and not the general and egalitarian rights the Levellers were claiming. Also influential, however, was Spelmans rediscovery of the existence of the feudal system at the time of Magna Carta, which seemed to have less and less effect on the world of the time. The only right, which the Levellers could trace back to 1215, possibly prized over all others, was the right to due process granted by Clause 39. One thing the Levellers did agree on with the popular beliefs of the time was that Magna Carta was an attempt to return to the fabled pre-Norman golden age.
A very similar set of events followed in 1678 when the Commons asked the Lords to indict Thomas Lord Danby on a charge of fraternising with the French. As with Clarendon the Lords refused, again citing Magna Carta and their own supremacy as the upper house. Before the quarrel could be resolved, Charles dissolved the Parliament. When Parliament was re-seated in 1681, again the Commons attempted to force an indictment in the Lords. This time Edward Fitzharris who was accused of writing libellously that the King was involved in a papist plot with the French (including the overthrowing of Magna Carta). However, the Lords doubted the veracity of the claim and refused to try Fitzharris saying Magna Carta stated that everyone must be subject to due process and therefore he must be tried in a lower court first. This time the Commons retorted that it was the Lords who were denying justice under Clause 39 and that the Commons were right to cite the Charter as their precedent. Again, before any true conclusions could be drawn Charles dissolved the Parliament, although more to serve his own ends and to rid himself of a predominantly Whig Parliament, and Fitzharris was tried in a regular court (the Kings Bench) and executed for treason. Here the Charter, once again, was used far beyond the content of its provisions, and simply being used as a representation of justice. Each house was claiming the Charter under Clause 39 supported its supremacy, but the power of the King was still too great for either house to come out fully as the more powerful.
Supremacy of the Commons
It did not take long before the questioning of the Charter really took off and Sir Matthew Hale soon afterwards introduced a new doctrine of common law based on the principle that the Crown (including the government cabinet in that definition) made all law and could only be bound by the law of God, and showed that the 1215 charter was effectively overruled by the 1225 charter, further undermining the idea that the charter was unassailable, adding credence to the idea that the Commons were a supreme branch of Government. Some completely denied the relevance of the 1215 Charter as it was forced upon the King by rebellion (although the fact that the 1225 charter was forced on a boy by his guardians was overlooked). It was similarly argued against the Charter that it was nothing more than a relaxation of the rigid feudal laws and therefore had no meaning outside of that application.
Extent of the Commons' powers
The influence of Magna Carta can be clearly seen in the U.S. Bill of Rights, which enumerates various rights of the people and restrictions on government power, such as:
No person shall be ... deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.
Article 21 from the Declaration of Rights in the Maryland Constitution of 1776 reads:
That no freeman ought to be taken, or imprisoned, or disseized of his freehold, liberties, or privileges, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any manner destroyed, or deprived of his life, liberty, or property, but by the judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land.
He spent a number of years abroad until 1768 when he returned and failed to be elected as the MP for London. Unperturbed he stood again for Middlesex but he was expelled again based on the earlier offence the next year. He stood again and was elected but the Commons ruled that he was ineligible to sit. At the next three re-elections Wilkes again was the champion, but the House did not relent and his opponent, Lutteral, was announced the winner.
The treatment of Wilkes caused a furore in Parliament, with Lord Camden denouncing the action as a contravention of Magna Carta. Wilkes made the issue a national one and the populace took up the issue. All over the country, there were prints of him being arrested whilst teaching his son about Magna Carta. He received the support of the Corporation of London, which had long sought to establish its supremacy over Parliament, based on the Charter.
Those who supported Wilkes often had little or no knowledge of the actual content of the Charter, or if they did, were looking to protect their own position based on it (such as the Corporation of London). Wilkes re-entered the House in 1774 having begun the cause for a reform movement to restore the constitution, through a more representative, less powerful, and shorter termed Parliament.
Proposed reform of Magna Carta
People like Cartwright were showing that the rights granted by the Charter were out of pace with the changes that had happened in the intervening six centuries. There were certain provisions, such as Clauses 23 and 39, which were not only still valid then but still form the basis of important rights in the present English law. Undeniably, though, the importance of Magna Carta was diminishing and the arguments for having a fully sovereign Parliament were increasingly accepted. Many in the House still supported the Charter, such as Sir Francis Burdett, who in 1809 called for a return to the constitution of Magna Carta, and denounced the House of Commons for taking proceedings against the radical John Gale Jones, who had accused Parliament of acting in contravention of Magna Carta. Burdett was largely ignored, but he continued, claiming that the Long Parliament (1640- 60) had usurped all the power then enjoyed by the Parliament of the time. He stated that Parliament was constantly contravening Magna Carta (although he was referring to its judicial not legislative practice), and that it did not have the right to do so. He received popular support and there were riots across London when he was arrested for these claims.
The Reform Act 1832 fixed some of the most glaring problems in the political system, but did not go nearly far enough for a group that called itself the Chartists, who called for a return to the constitution of Magna Carta, and eventually created a codification of what they saw as the existing rights of the People, the People's Charter. At a rally for the Chartists in 1838 the Reverend Raynor demanded a return to the constitution of the Charter; freedom of speech, worship and congress. This is a perfect example of how the idea of the Charter went so far beyond its actual content: it depicted for many people the idea of total liberty. It was this over-exaggeration of the Charter that eventually led to its downfall. The more people expected to get from the Charter, the less Parliament was willing to attempt to cater to this expectation, and eventually writers such as Tom Paine refuted the claims about the Charter made by those such as the Chartists. This meant that the educated no longer supported these claims, and the power of Magna Carta as a symbol of freedom gradually faded into obscurity.
Influences on later constitutions
Many later attempts to draft constitutional forms of government, including the United States Constitution, trace their lineage back to this source document. The United States Supreme Court has explicitly referenced Lord Coke's analysis of Magna Carta as an antecedent of the Sixth Amendment's right to a speedy trial.
Magna Carta has influenced international law as well: Eleanor Roosevelt referred to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as "a Magna Carta for all mankind". Magna Carta is thought to be the crucial turning point in the struggle to establish freedom and a key element in the transformation of constitutional thinking throughout the world. When Englishmen left their homeland to establish colonies in the new world, they brought with them charters that guaranteed they and their heirs would have and enjoy all liberties and immunities of free and natural subjects. (qtd. from wall of National Archives). In 1606, Sir Edward Coke, who drafted the Virginia Charter, had highly praised Magna Carta, which reflected many of its values and themes into the Virginia Charter (Howard 28). Colonists were also aware of their rights that came from Magna Carta. When American colonists raised arms against England, they were fighting not so much for new freedom, but to preserve liberties, many of which dated back to the 13th century Magna Carta. In 1787 when the representatives of America gathered to draft a constitution, they built upon the legal system they knew and admired: English common law that had evolved from Magna Carta (National Archives). The ideas addressed in the great charter that are found today are particularly obvious. The American Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land, recalling the manner in which Magna Carta had come to be regarded as fundamental law. This heritage is quite apparent. In comparing Magna Carta with the Bill of Rights: the Fifth Amendment guarantees: No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. In addition, the United States Constitution included a similar writ in the Suspension Clause, article 1, section 9: The privilege of the writ habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it." Written 575 years earlier, Magna Carta states, No free man shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, not will we proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers and by the law of the land. (qtd. in Howard pg VI: Foreword). Each of these proclaim no man may be imprisoned or detained without proof that they did wrong.
Jews in England
If one who has borrowed from the Jews any sum, great or small, die before that loan be repaid, the debt shall not bear interest while the heir is under age, of whomsoever he may hold; and if the debt fall into our hands, we will not take anything except the principal sum contained in the bond. And if anyone die indebted to the Jews, his wife shall have her dower and pay nothing of that debt; and if any children of the deceased are left under age, necessaries shall be provided for them in keeping with the holding of the deceased; and out of the residue the debt shall be paid, reserving, however, service due to feudal lords; in like manner let it be done touching debts due to others than Jews. After the Pope annulled Magna Carta, future versions contained no mention of Jews. The Church saw Jews as a threat to their authority, and the welfare of Christians, because of their special relationship to Kings as moneylenders. "Jews are the sponges of kings," wrote the theologian William de Montibus, "they are bloodsuckers of Christian purses, by whose robbery kings dispoil and deprive poor men of their goods." Thus the specific singling out of Jewish moneylenders seen in Magna Carta originated in part because of Christian nobles who permitted the otherwise illegal activity of usury, a symptom of the larger ongoing power struggle between Church and State during the Middle Ages.
Many documents form Magna Carta
The document was unsigned
21st Century Britain
Usage of the definite article
The 'burnt copy', which was found in the records of Dover Castle in the 17th century and so is assumed to be the copy that was sent to the Cinque Ports. It was subsequently involved at a house fire at its owner's property, making it all but illegible. It is the only one of the four to have its seal surviving, although this too was melted out of shape in the fire. It is currently held by the British Library. Another supposedly original, but possibly amended version of Magna Carta is on show just outside of the chamber of the House of Lords situated in Westminster Palace. One owned by Lincoln Cathedral, normally on display at Lincoln Castle. It has an unbroken attested history at Lincoln since 1216. We hear of it in 1800 when the Chapter Clerk of the Cathedral reported that he held it in the Common Chamber, and then nothing until 1846 when the Chapter Clerk of that time moved it from within the Cathedral to a property just outside. In 1848, Magna Carta was shown to a visiting group who reported it as hanging on the wall in an oak frame in beautiful preservation. It went to the New York World Fair in 1939 and so had to be held in Fort Knox, next to the original of the US Constitution, until the end of the Second World War. Having returned to Lincoln, it has been back to America on various occasions since then. It was taken out of display for a time to undergo conservation in preparation for its visit to America, where it was exhibited at the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia from 30 March to 18 June 2007 in recognition of the Jamestown quadricentennial. From 4 July to 25 July, the document was displayed at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, returning to Lincoln Castle afterwards. One owned by and displayed at Salisbury Cathedral. It is the best conserved of the four. Other early versions of Magna Carta survive. Durham Cathedral possesses 1216, 1217, and 1225 copies.
A near perfect 1217 copy is held by Hereford Cathedral and is occasionally displayed alongside the Mappa Mundi in the cathedral's chained library. Remarkably, the Hereford Magna Carta is the only one known to survive along with an early version of a Magna Carta users manual, a small document that was sent along with Magna Carta telling the Sheriff of the county to observe the conditions outlined in the document.
Four copies are held by the Bodleian Library in Oxford. Three of these are 1217 issues and one a 1225 issue. On 10 Dec 2007, these were put on public display for the first time.
Magna Carta Place, within Canberra, Australia's Parliamentary Triangle opened on 24 May 2003.In 1952 the Australian Government purchased a 1297 copy of Magna Carta for £12,500 from King's School, Bruton, England. This copy is now on display in the Members' Hall of Parliament House, Canberra. In January 2006, it was announced by the Department of Parliamentary Services that the document had been revalued down from A$40m to A$15m.
Only one copy (a 1297 copy with the royal seal of Edward I) is in private hands; it was held by the Brudenell family, earls of Cardigan, who had owned it for five centuries, before being sold to the Perot Foundation in 1984. This copy, having been on long-term loan to the US National Archives, was auctioned at Sotheby's New York on 18 December 2007; The Perot Foundation sold it in order to "have funds available for medical research, for improving public education and for assisting wounded soldiers and their families." It fetched US$21.3 million, It was bought by David Rubenstein of The Carlyle Group, who after the auction said, "I thought it was very important that the Magna Carta stay in the United States and I was concerned that the only copy in the United States might escape as a result of this auction." Rubenstein's copy is on permanent loan to the National Archives in Washington, DC.
Participant list Barons, Bishops and Abbots who were party to Magna Carta.