|Hodder & Stoughton|
Eight hundred years ago, on June 15 1215, on the banks of the River Thames at Runnymede, King John was forced at the point of the sword to yield to pressure from his barons and set his seal to the document which would form the basis of English law for the next eight hundred years.
The Magna Carta was first drafted by Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury in order to bring the recalcitrant king into line with his rebel barons. The charter promised to protect church rights, to protect the barons from false imprisonment, access to swift justice and limitations on feudal payments to the crown.
The parchment, roughly square and written using gall- based ink has retained its colour well. Approximately thirteen copies were made and distributed throughout the country, however, only four copies now exist - one in Lincoln Cathedral, one in Salisbury Cathedral and two in the British Library.
John by the grace of God, King of England Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, Count of Anjou, to the archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, barons, justiciars, foresters, sheriffs, stewards, servants and all his officials and faithful subjects greeting...
Nullus liber homo capiatur, vel imprionetur, aut disseisiatur aut utlagetur, aut exuletur,aut aliquo modo destuatur,necsuper eum inimus, nec super eum mittemus,nisi per legal judicium parium suorum vel per legem terre.
Nulli vende,us, nulli negabimus aut differemus rectum aut justicium.
"......No free man shall be taken or imprisoned or deprived or outlawed or exiled or in any way ruined, nor will we go or send against him, except by the lawful judgement of his peers or by the law of the land.
To no one will we sell, to no one will we deny or delay right or justice....."
"...Given under our hand in the meadow which is called Runnymede between Windsor and Staines on the fifteenth day of June in the seventeenth year of our reign..."
The principle and the rule of law was born.
More about the events celebrating Magna Carta can be found