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History > Before 17th century > England

 

Early medieval Britain > Timeline in pictures

 

King John (1167-1216)    r. 1199-1216
 

 

Magna Carta        1215

 

 

 

Magna Carta        1215

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Great Charter

of Freedoms,

signed reluctantly

by King John in 1215,

is the foundation

of constitutional law

across the globe,

enshrining what became

the writ of habeas corpus

and protecting individuals

from unlawful

imprisonment.

 

English barons,

enraged by

John's arrogance,

forced the document upon him

to rein in his powers

and shelter

their own privileges.

 

Among a wide

variety of provisions,

such as

the removal of all weirs

and a ban on men

being imprisoned

on the testimony

of a woman,

it established

the supremacy

of the law

over the king's will,

allowed

for a fixed law court,

later the chancellery,

and created

an independent council

that became

a prototype parliament.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/apr/15/
ten-of-the-best-political-documents

 

 

 

Magna Carta

– the great charter –

was endorsed

by King John

to resolve

an uprising by nobles

angered

by the monarch's

despotic behavior

and extortionate taxes.

 

The four

original copies

are written records

of an oral agreement

made between

the king

and his barons

at Runnymede,

west of London.

 

The agreement

outlined limits

on the power

of the crown,

establishing

that the king

was subject

to the law,

rather than above it.

 

Its most

famous passage

has been interpreted

as laying

the foundations

of trial by jury:

 

"No free man

shall be seized

or imprisoned,

or stripped

of his rights

or possessions,

or outlawed or exiled,

nor will we proceed

with force against him,

except by

the lawful judgment

of his equals

or by the law of the land."

 

Breay

said it was

a historic landmark

that was almost killed off

straight after its birth.

 

"It was only valid

for less than 10 weeks,"

she said.

 

"The barons,

knowing what

King John was like,

put in a clause

making him say

he would not seek

to have it annulled.

 

Almost the first thing he did

was send someone off

to Rome to Pope Innocent III

to seek to have it revoked."

 

The pope did annul it,

and England

was plunged back

into civil war.

 

But John died

the next year,

leaving

his nine-year-old son

on the throne

as Henry III.

 

The regent

who ruled

for young Henry

reissued Magna Carta.

 

Although many of its clauses

were subsequently ignored,

overturned or rewritten,

the document is considered

the basis of British law.

 

It was reissued

several times

in the 13th century

and 17

of these later copies

survive.

 

Fifteen are in Britain,

one is displayed

at Australia's parliament

and one, dating from 1297,

is in the US national archives.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk-news/2013/jul/15/four-copies-magna-carta-united-anniversary

 

 

 

 

Lincoln Cathedral is where

Archbishop of Canterbury

Stephen Langton

studied as a young cleric.

 

He played a major role

in building concepts

of a just monarchy

into the historic charter,

which attempted

to settle the bitter feud

between

the tyrannical King John

and his nobles.

 

After its signing,

copies were distributed

to places of worship

throughout the kingdom.

 

Lincoln’s

is the best preserved

of the four that survive.

http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2015/feb/14/800-years-english-history-20-day-trips

 

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/john.shtml

http://www.bl.uk/collections/treasures/magna.html

http://www.theguardian.com/culture/ng-interactive/2015/jun/15/
magna-carta-read-the-document-in-full-interactive

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jun/15/magna-carta-legal-significance

 

 

http://www.theguardian.com/culture/ng-interactive/2015/jun/15/
magna-carta-read-the-document-in-full-interactive

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/15/414616460/
magna-carta-is-800-this-awful-thing-that-shaped-legal-rights

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/15/world/europe/magna-carta-still-posing-a-challenge-at-800.html

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/06/15/world/europe/15magna-carta-quiz.html

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/15/magna-carta-800-years-human-rights-act

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jun/15/magna-carta-legal-significance

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jun/15/
queen-leads-celebration-of-800-years-of-magna-carta-at-runnymede

http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2015/jun/15/
hew-locke-sculpture-jurors-runnymede-magna-carta-against-injustice

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jun/14/magna-carta-study-reveals-church-role

https://www.npr.org/2015/04/13/
399401438/at-800-and-aging-well-the-magna-carta-is-still-a-big-draw 

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/mar/12/
magna-carta-exhibition-lessons-modern-politics-peoples-rights

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/12/guardian-view-on-magna-carta-magic-of-myth

http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2015/feb/14/800-years-english-history-20-day-trips

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk-news/2013/jul/15/four-copies-magna-carta-united-anniversary

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/video/2010/nov/12/human-rights-uk-civil-liberties

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/apr/15/ten-of-the-best-political-documents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magna Carta:

explore the document in full

 

Find out for yourself

what Magna Carta says

by consulting

the original document,

with English translation,

Latin transcription,

and expert commentary

from the AHRC’s

Magna Carta Project

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/ng-interactive/2015/jun/15/
magna-carta-read-the-document-in-full-interactive 

 

 

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/ng-interactive/2015/jun/15/
magna-carta-read-the-document-in-full-interactive 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

King John (1167-1216)        r. 1199-1216

 

John

was born

around Christmas

in 1166 or 1167

in Oxford,

the youngest

and favourite

son of Henry II.

 

On his father's death

in 1189

his brother,

Richard,

became king.

 

John

received titles,

lands and money,

but this was

not enough.

 

In October 1190,

Richard recognised

his nephew, Arthur,

as his heir.

 

Three years later,

when Richard

was imprisoned

in Germany,

John tried

to seize control.

 

He was

unsuccessful and,

when Richard

returned in early 1194,

was banished.

 

The two

were soon reconciled and,

when Arthur was captured

by Philip II in 1196,

Richard named John heir.

 

In 1199,

Richard died

and John became king.

 

War with France

was renewed,

triggered by John's

second marriage.

 

While asked to mediate

between the rival families

of Lusignan

and Angoulâme,

he married

the Angoulâme

heiress Isabella,

who had been betrothed

to Hugh de Lusignan.

 

A rebellion broke out

and John was ordered

to appear

before his overlord,

Philip II of France.

 

His failure to do so

resulted in war.

 

By 1206,

John had lost

Normandy, Anjou,

Maine

and parts of Poitou.

 

These failures

were a damaging blow

to his prestige

and he was determined

to win them back.

 

This required money,

so his government

became

increasingly ruthless

and efficient

in its financial

administration.

 

Taxes soared

and he began

to exploit

his feudal rights

ever more harshly.

 

This bred increasing

baronial discontent.

 

Negotiations between

John and his barons failed

and civil war broke out

in May 1215.

 

When the rebels

seized London,

John was compelled

to negotiate further and,

on 19 June at Runnymede

on the River Thames,

he accepted

the baronial terms

embodied

in the Magna Carta,

which limited royal power,

ensured feudal rights

and restated English law.

 

It was the first

formal document stating

that the monarch

was as much

under the rule of law

as his people,

and that the rights

of individuals

were to be upheld

even against the wishes

of the sovereign.

 

This settlement

was soon

rendered impractical

when John claimed

it was signed

under duress.

 

Pope Innocent

took his side

and in the ensuing civil war

John laid waste

to the northern counties

and the Scottish border.

 

Prince Louis of France

then invaded

at the barons' request.

 

John continued

to wage war vigorously,

but his death in October 1216

enabled a compromise peace

and the succession

of his son Henry III.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/john.shtml

 

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/john.shtml  

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_of_England

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_John