Magna Carta Essay

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This ‘Unknown Charter’, as Round termed it, was undoubtedly an early draft of the negotiations brought to fulfilment at Runnymede. This was a point eagerly seized upon by Hubert Hall, himself a recent victim of Roundian persecution and only too keen to correct his tormentor.

note published in 1894, Hall, supported by the Frenchman Charles Bémont, gave the correct modern archival reference for Round’s charter.

At Oxford, in part in order to assist with the teaching of Stubbs’s In Cambridge, although there was less formal teaching provision for medievalists, Maitland and others trailed in Magna Carta’s wake, publishing plea rolls, year books and other records of thirteenth-century law.

Magna Carta made occasional appearances in There he came across a highly significant single sheet preserved in the French Archives nationales: a copy of Henry I’s coronation charter followed by clauses granted by a king who could clearly be identified as King John. He was less accurate in identifying its whereabouts.

As in England after 1066, so in Normandy after 1204 there was a great search for ‘pre-Conquest’ sources, some of them authentic, many of them not.

The intention was to demonstrate the antiquity of Norman law and Norman liberties, employing specifically ‘English’ or ‘Anglo-Norman’ evidence that the Capetian kings and their lawyers were powerless to challenge.

On 15th June 1215 the Magna Carta was sealed under oath by King John at Runnymede, on the bank of the River Thames near Windsor, England.

2015 is the 800th anniversary of this charter, which led eventually to the rule of constitutional law in England and beyond. The readers in this project are not scholars of mediaeval Latin or French.

In 1894, Round published a second Magna Carta note, again as a result of his exploration of French sources.

A typically pugnacious piece, steering close to pedantry, this was intended to correct a reference in Pierre Adolphe Chéruel’s (1727), purporting to be a version of Magna Carta granted not by King John or Henry III to the men of England, but by Henry II to Normandy. But, in fact, the Norman Magna Carta misattributed to Henry II is a document of some importance.


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