A document that King John of England was forced into signing
King John was forced into signing the charter because it greatly reduced the power he held as the King of England and allowed for the formation of a powerful parliament.
The Magna Carta became the basis for English citizen's rights.
The Magna Carta
Was created in 1215 by Barons of King John of England
It was reissued in the 13 th century in modified versions
The 1297 version The Great Charter of Liberties of England, and the Liberties of the Forest still remains on the statute books of England and Wales
This was the first document that was forced onto an English King by subjects, feudal barons, in an attempt to limit his powers by law and protect there privileges.
The Great Charter of 1215
1215 few of the most important barons engaged in an open rebellion against their king
January 1215 barons demanded the King John confirm the Charter of Liberties, from what they viewed as a golden age
Between January and June 1215, a document was produced which historians have termed ‘The Unknown Charter of Liberties’. Which later appear in the ‘Articles of the Barons’ and the Runnymede Charter.
This section establishes a committee of 25 barons who could at any time meet and overrule the will of the King if he defied the provisions of the Charter, seizing his castles and possessions if it was considered necessary.
This is based on a medieval legal practice know as distraint, but this was the first time that it was applied to a monarch .
Clauses Still in Force Today
Clause 1, Freedom of the English Church
Clause 9, the “ancient liberties” of the city London. (London shall have all the Old Liberties and Customs which it hath been used to have.)
Clause 29, a right to due process. (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.)
It is also referred to as the Magna Charter or the Great Charter
The Magna Carta was signed by King John in a meadow at Runnymede in Egham, Surrey, South England
People Involved in the Magna Carta: King John of England, Archbishop Stephen Langton and the Barons
The charter is considered to be the beginning of constitutional government in England. The Magna Carta demonstrated that the power of the king could be limited by a written grant.
Challenges to the King’s power
The clauses 12 and 14 of the 1215 charter state that the king must accept the “common counsel of out realm” when levying and assessing an aid or a scutage.
The clause that goes into great detail about how exactly the archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls and greater barons should be consulted is clause 14.
These clauses meant that the monarch had to ask before he raised the taxes.
The later charters merely said that “Scutage furthermore is to be taken as it used to be”, although in practice the convention arose after Magna Carta that Parliament would be consulted by the monarch before raising taxes.
King John and the Magna Carta
In 1205 King John argued with the Pope Innocent III over who should become the archbishop of Canterbury. The Pope wanted Stephan Langton to be the archbishops, but King John promised he should never come to England.
The Pope retaliated in 1209 and excommunicated King John and banned all church services in parish churches.
The King gave in shortly, and the Pope made him and the people pay him money whenever he demanded it.
In 1212 the King imposed taxes to the Barons to make up for the lost lands of Aquitaine, Poitou and Anjou.
King John argued with the Barons over how he should rule England.
The Barons and Stephan Langton decided to make the King govern by the old English laws that had come before the Normans.
The Barons took up arms against the King
The Barons capture London in May 1215
In June the Barons took King John by surprise at Windsor and then he agreed to a meeting in Runnymede.
King John signed and sealed the document on June 10 th 1215
The Barons renewed the Oath of Fealty to King John on June 15 th 1215
The royal chancery produced a formal royal grant, based on the agreements reached at Runnymede, which became known as Magna Carta
Copies of the Magna Carta were distributed to bishops, sheriffs and other important people throughout England