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A Great Day in History for the Anglospheric Constitutions

Magna Carta - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

By 1215, some of the barons of England banded together and took London by force on June 10, 1215. They, and many of the fence-sitting moderates not in overt rebellion, forced King John to agree to the "Articles of the Barons", to which his Great Seal was attached in the meadow at Runnymede on June 15, 1215. In return, the barons renewed their oaths of fealty to King John on June 19, 1215. A formal document to record the agreement was created by the royal chancery on July 15: this was the original Magna Carta.


John, by the grace of God, king of England, lord of Ireland, duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and count of Anjou, to the archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, barons, justiciars, foresters, sheriffs, stewards, servants, and to all his bailiffs and faithful subjects, greeting. Know that we, out of reverence for God and for the salvation of our soul and those of all our ancestors and heirs, for the honor of God and the exaltation of holy church, and for the reform of our realm, on the advice of our venerable fathers, Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury, primate of all England and cardinal of the holy Roman church, Henry archbishop of Dublin, William of London, Peter of Winchester, Jocelyn of Bath and Glastonbury, Hugh of Lincoln, Walter of Worcester, William of Conventry and Benedict of Rochester, bishops, of master Pandulf, subdeacon and member of the household of the lord pope, of brother Aymeric, master of the order of Knights Templar in England, and of the noble men William Marshal earl of Pembroke, William earl of Warenne, William earl of Arundel, Alan of Galloway constable of Scotland, Warin fitz Gerold, Peter fitz Herbert, Hubert de Burgh seneschal of Poitou, Hugh de Neville, Matthew fitz Herbert, Thomas Basset, Alan Basset, Philip de Aubeney, Robert of Ropsley, John Marshal, John fitz Hugh, and others, our faithful subjects:


Johannes del gracia rex Anglie, dominus Hibernie, dux Normannie, Aquitannie et comes Andegavie, archiepiscopis, episcopis, abbatibus, comitibus, baronibus, justiciariis, forestariis, vicecomitibus, prepositis, ministris et omnibus ballivis et fidelibus suis salutem. Sciatis nos intuitu Dei et pro salute anime nostre et omnium antecessorum et heredum nostrorum ad honorem Dei et exaltacionem sancte Ecclesie, et emendacionem regni nostri, per consilium venerabilium patrum nostrorum, Stephani Cantuariensis archiepiscopi tocius Anglie primatis et sancte Romane ecclesie cardinalis, Henrici Dublinensis archiepiscopi, Willelmi Londoniensis, Petri Wintoniensis, Joscelini Bathoniensis et Glastoniensis, Hugonis Lincolniensis, Walteri Wygorniensis, Willelmi Coventrensis, et Benedicti Roffensis, episcoporum; magistri Pandulfi domini pape subdiaconi et familiaris, fratris Aymerici magistri milicie Templi in Anglia; et nobilium virorum Willelmi Mariscalli comitis Penbrocie, Willelmi comitis Sarrisberie, Willelmi comitis Warennie, Willelmi comitis Arundellie, Alani de Galeweya constabularii Scocie, Warini filii Geroldi, Petri filii Hereberti, Huberti de Burgo senescalli Pictavie, Hugonis de Nevilla, Mathei filli Hereberti, Thome Basset, Alani Basset, Philippi de Albiniaco, Roberti de Roppel', Johannis Mariscalli, Johannis filii Hugonis et aliorum fidelium nostrorum:



[1] In the first place have granted to God, and by this our present charter confirmed for us and our heirs for ever that the English church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished and its liberties unimpaired; and it is our will that it be thus observed; which is evident from the fact that, before the quarrel between us and our barons began, we willingly and spontaneously granted and by our charter confirmed the freedom of elections which is reckoned most important and very essential to the English church, and obtained confirmation of it from the lord pope Innocent III; the which we will observe and we wish our heirs to observe it in good faith for ever. We have also granted to all free men of our kingdom, for ourselves and our heirs for ever, all the liberties written below, to be had and held by them and their heirs of us and our heirs.

1. In primis concessisse Deo et hac presenti carta nostra confirmasse, pro nobis et heredibus nostris in perpetuum, quod Anglicana ecclesie libera sit, et habeat jura sua integra, et libertates suas illesas; et ita volumus observari; quod apparet ex eo quod libertatem electionum, que maxima et magis necessaria reputatur ecclesie Anglicane, mera et spontanea voluntate, ante discordiam inter nos et barones nostros motam, concessimus et carta nostra confirmavimus, et eam obtinuimus a domino papa Innocentio tercio confirmari; quam et nos observabimus et ab heredibus nostris in perpetuum bona fide volumus observari. Concessimus eciam omnibus liberis hominibus regni nostri, pro nobis et heredibus nostris in perpetuum, omnes libertates subscriptas, habendas et tenendas eis et heredibus suis, de nobis et heredibus nostris.



[2] If any of our earls or barons or others holding of us in chief by knight service dies, and at his death his heir be of full age and owe relief he shall have his inheritance on payment of the old relief, namely the heir or heirs of an earl £100 for a whole earl’s barony, the heir or heirs of a baron £100 for a whole barony, the heir or heirs of a knight 100s, at most, for a whole knight’s fee; and he who owes less shall give less according to the ancient usage of fiefs.

2. Si quis comitum vel baronum nostrorum, sive aliorum tenencium de nobis in capite per servicium militare, mortuus fuerit, et cum decesserit heres suus plene etatis fuerit et relevium debeat, habeat hereditatem suam per antiquum relevium; scilicet heres vel heredes comitis de baronia comitis integra per centum libras; heres veI heredes baronis de baronia integra per centum libras; heres vel heredes militis de feodo militis integro per centum solidos ad plus; et qui minus debuerit minus det secundum antiquam consuetudinem feodorum. [Articles, c. 1; 1225, c. 2.]



[3] If, however, the heir of any such be under age and a ward, he shall have his inheritance when he comes of age without paying relief and without making fine.

3. Si autem heres alicujus talium fuerit infra etatem et fuerit in custodia, cum ad etatem pervenerit, habeat hereditatem suam sine relevio et sine fine. [Articles, c. 2; 1225, c. 3.]



[4] The guardian of the land of such an heir who is under age shall take from the land of the heir no more than reasonable revenues, reasonable customary dues and reasonable services and that without destruction and waste of men or goods; and if we commit the wardship of the land of any such to a sheriff, or to any other who is answerable to us for its revenues, and he destroys or wastes what he has wardship of, we will take compensation from him and the land shall be committed to two lawful and discreet men of that fief, who shall be answerable for the revenues to us or to him to whom we have assigned them; and if we give or sell to anyone the wardship of any such land and he causes destruction or waste therein, he shall lose that wardship, and it shall be transferred to two lawful and discreet men of that fief, who shall similarly be answerable to us as is aforesaid.

4. Custos terre hujusmodi heredis qui infra etatem fuerit, non capiat de terra heredis nisi racionabiles exitus, et racionabiles consuetudines, et racionabilia servicia, et hoc sine destructione et vasto hominum vel rerum; et si nos commiserimus custodiam alicujus talis terre vicecomiti vel alicui alii qui de exitibus illius nobis respondere debeat, et ille destructionem de custodia fecerit veI vastum, nos ab illo capiemus emendam, et terra committatur duobus legalibus et discretis hominibus de feodo illo, qui de exitibus respondeant nobis vel ei cui eos assignaverimus; et si dederimus vel vendiderimus alicui custodiam alicujus talis terre, et ille destructionem inde fecerit vel vastum, amittat ipsam custodiam, et tradatur duobus legalibus et discretis hominibus de feodo illo qui similiter nobis respondeant sicut predictum est. [Articles, c. 3; 1225, c. 4.]



[5] Moreover, so long as he has the wardship of the land, the guardian shall keep in repair the houses, parks, preserves, ponds, mills and other things pertaining to the land out of the revenues from it; and he shall restore to the heir when he comes of age his land fully stocked with plows and the means of husbandry according to what the season of husbandry requires and the revenues of the land can reasonably bear.

5. Custos autem, quamdiu custodiam terre habuerit, sustentet domos, parcos, vivaria, stagna, molendina, et cetera ad terram illam pertinencia, de exitibus terre ejusdem; et reddat heredi cum ad plenam etatem pervenerit, terram suam totam instauratam de carucis et waynagiis, secundum quod tempus waynagii exiget et exitus terre racionabiliter poterunt sustinere. [Articles, cc. 3, 35; 1225, c. 5.]



[6] Heirs shall be married without disparagement, yet so that before the marriage is contracted those nearest in blood to the heir shall have notice.

6. Heredes maritentur absque disparagacione, ita tamen quod, antequam contrahatur matrimonium, ostendatur propinquis de consanguinitate ipsius heredis. [Articles, c. 3; 1225, c. 6.]



[7] A widow shall have her marriage portion and inheritance forthwith and without difficulty after the death of her husband; nor shall she pay anything to have her dower or her marriage portion or the inheritance which she and her husband held on the day of her husband’s death; and she may remain in her husband’s house for forty days after his death, within which time her dower shall be assigned to her.

7. Vidua post mortem mariti sui statim et sine difficultate habeat maritagium et hereditatem suam, nec aliquid det pro dote sua, vel pro maritagio suo, vel hereditate sua, quam hereditatem maritus suus et ipsa tenuerint die obitus ipsius mariti, et maneat in domo mariti sul per quadraginta dies post mortem ipsius, infra quos assignetur ei dos sua. [Articles, c. 4; 1225, c. 7.]



[8] No widow shall be forced to marry so long as she wishes to live without a husband, provided that she gives security not to marry without our consent if she holds of us, or without the consent of her lord of whom she holds, if she holds of another.

8. Nulla vidua distringatur ad se maritandum, dum voluerit vivere sine marito, ita tamen quod securitatem faciat quod se non maritabit sine assensu nostro, si de nobis tenuerit, vel sine assensu domini sui de quo tenuerit, si de alio tenuerit. [Articles, c. 17; 1225, c. 7.]



[9] Neither we nor our bailiffs will seize for any debt any land or rent, so long as the chattels of the debtor are sufficient to repay the debt; nor will those who have gone surety for the debtor be distrained so long as the principal debtor is himself able to pay the debt; and if the principal debtor fails to pay the debt, having nothing wherewith to pay it, then shall the sureties answer for the debt; and they shall, if they wish, have the lands and rents of the debtor until they are reimbursed for the debt which they have paid for him, unless the principal debtor can show that he has discharged his obligation in the matter to the said sureties.

9. Nec nos nec ballivi nostri seisiemus terram aliquam nec redditum pro debito aliquo, quamdiu catalla debitoris sufficiunt ad debitum reddendum; nec plegii ipsius debitoris distringantur quamdiu ipse capitalis debitor sufficit ad solucionem debiti; et si capitalis debitor defecerit in solucione debiti, non habens unde solvat, plegii respondeant de debito; et si voluerint, habeant terras et redditus debitoris, donec sit eis satisfactum de debito quod ante pro eo solverint, nisi capitalis debitor monstraverit se esse quietum inde versus eosdem plegios. [Articles, c. 5; 1225, c. 8.]



[10] If anyone who has borrowed from the Jews any sum, great or small, dies before it is repaid, the debt shall not bear interest as long as the heir is under age, of whomsoever he holds; and if the debt falls into our hands, we will not take anything except the principal mentioned in the bond.

10.Si quis mutuo ceperit aliquid a Judeis, plus vel minus, et moriatur antequam debitum illud solvatur, debitum non usuret quamdiu heres fuerit infra etatem, de quocumque teneat; et si debitum illud inciderit in manus nostras, nos non capiemus nisi catallum contentum in carta. [Articles, C. 34.]



[11] And if anyone dies indebted to the Jews, his wife shall have her dower and pay nothing of that debt; and if the dead man leaves children who are under age, they shall be provided with necessaries befitting the holding of the deceased; and the debt shall be paid out of the residue, reserving, however, service due to lords of the land; debts owing to others than Jews shall be dealt with in like manner.

11. Et si quis moriatur, et debitum debeat Judeis, uxor ejus habeat dotem suam, et nichil reddat de debito illo, et si liberi ipsius defuncti qui fuerint infra etatem remanserint, provideantur eis necessaria secundum tenementum quod fuerit defuncti et de residuo solvatur debitum, salvo servicio dominorum; simili modo fiat de debitis que debentur aliis quaim Judeis. [Articles, c. 35.]



[12] No scutage or aid shall be imposed in our kingdom unless by common counsel of our kingdom, except for ransoming our person, for making our eldest son a knight, and for once marrying our eldest daughter, and for these only a reasonable aid shall be levied. Be it done in like manner concerning aids from the city of London.

12. Nullum scutagium vel auxilium ponatur in regno nostro, nisi per commune consilium regni nostri, nisi ad corpus nostrum redimendum, et primogenitum filium nostrum militem faciendum, et ad filiam nostram primogenitam semel maritandam, et ad hec non fiat nisi racionabile auxilium; simili modo fiat de auxiliis de civitate Londoniarum. [Articles, c. 32.]



[13] And the city of London shall have all its ancient liberties and free customs as well by land as by water. Furthermore, we will and grant that all other cities, boroughs, towns, and ports shall have all their liberties and free customs.

13. Et civitas Londoniarum habeat omnes antiquas libertates et liberas consuetudines suas, tam per terras quam per aquas. Preterea volumus et concedimus quod omnes alie civitates, et burgi, et ville, et portus, habeant omnes libertates et liberas consuetudines suas. [Articles, c. 32; 1225, c. 9.]



[14] And to obtain the common counsel of the kingdom about the assessing of an aid (except in the three cases aforesaid) or of a scutage, we will cause to be summoned the archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls and greater barons, individually by our letters -- and, in addition, we will cause to be summoned generally through our sheriffs and bailiffs all those holding of us in chief -- for a fixed date, namely, after the expiry of at least forty days, and to a fixed place; and in all letters of such summons we will specify the reason for the summons. And when the summons has thus been made, the business shall proceed on the day appointed, according to the counsel of those present, though not all have come who were summoned.

14. Et ad habendum commune consilium regni de auxilio assidendo aliter quam in tribus casibus predictis, vel de scutagio assidendo, summoneri faciemus archiepiscopos, episcopos, abbates, comites, et majores barones sigillatim per litteras nostras; et preterea faciemus summoneri in generali per vicecomites et ballivos nostros omnes illos qui de nobis tenent in capite ad certum diem, scilicet ad terminum quadraginta dierum ad minus, et ad certum locum; et in omnibus litteris illius summonicionis causam summonicionis exprimemus; et sic facta summonicione negocium ad diem assignatum procedat secundum consilium illorum qui presentes fuerint, quamvis non omnes summoniti venerint.



[15] We will not in future grant any one the right to take an aid from his free men, except for ransoming his person, for making his eldest son a knight and for once marrying his eldest daughter, and for these only a reasonable aid shall be levied.

15. Nos non concedemus de cetero alicui quod capiat auxilium de liberis hominibus suis, nisi ad corpus suum redimendum, et ad faciendum primogenitum filium suum militem, et ad primogenitam filiam suam semel maritandam, et ad hec non fiat nisi racionabile auxilium. [Articles, c. 6.]



[16] No one shall be compelled to do greater service for a knight’s fee or for any other free holding than is due from it.

16. Nullus distringatur ad faciendum majus servicium de feodo militis, nec de alio libero tenemento, quam inde debetur. [Articles, c. 7; 1225, c. 10.]



[17] Common pleas shall not follow our court, but shall be held in some fixed place.

17. Communia placita non sequantur curiam nostram, set teneantur in aliquo loco certo. [Articles, c. 8; 1225, c. 11.]



[18] Recognitions of novel disseisin, of mort d'ancester, and of darrein presentment, shall not be held elsewhere than in the counties to which they relate, and in this manner -- we, or, if we should be out of the realm, our chief justiciar, will send two justices through each county four times a year, who, with four knights of each county chosen by the county, shall hold the said assizes in the county and on the day and in the place of meeting of the county court.

18. Recogniciones de nova disseisina, de morte antecessoris, et de ultima presentacione, non capiantur nisi in suis comitatibus et hoc modo; nos, vel si extra regnum fuerimus capitalis justiciarius noster, mittemus duos justiciarios per unumquemque comitatum per quatuor vices in anno, qui, cum quatuor militibus cujuslibet comitatus electis per comitatum, capiant in comitatu et in die et loco comitatus assisas predictas. [Articles, c. 8; 1225, c. 12.]



[19] And if the said assizes cannot all be held on the day of the county court, there shall stay behind as many of the knights and freeholders who were present at the county court on that day as are necessary for the sufficient making of judgments, according to the amount of business to be done.

19. Et si in die comitatus assise predicte capi non possint, tot milites et libere tenentes remaneant de illis qui interfuerint comitatui die illo, per quos possint judicia sufficienter fieri, secundum quod negocium fuerit majus vel minus. [Articles, c. 13.]



[20] A free man shall not be amerced for a trivial offense except in accordance with the degree of the offense, and for a grave offense he shall be amerced in accordance with its gravity, yet saving his way of living; and a merchant in the same way, saving his stock-in-trade; and a villein shall be amerced in the same way, saving his means of livelihood -- if they have fallen into our mercy: and none of the aforesaid amercements shall be imposed except by the oath of good men of the neighborhood.

20. Liber homo non amercietur pro parvo delicto, nisi secundum modum delicti; et pro magno delicto amercietur secundum magnitudinem delicti, salvo contenemento suo; et mercator eodem modo, salva mercandisa sua; et villanus eodem modo amercietur salvo waynagio suo; si inciderint in misericordiam nostram; et nulla predictarum misericordiarum ponatur, nisi per sacramentum proborum hominum de visneto. [Articles, c. 9; 1225, c. 14.]



[21] Earls and barons shall not be amerced except by their peers, and only in accordance with the degree of the offense.

21. Comites et barones non amercientur nisi per pares suos, et non nisi secundum modum delicti. [1225, c. 14.]



[22] No clerk shall be amerced in respect of his lay holding except after the manner of the others aforesaid and not according to the amount of his ecclesiastical benefice.

22. Nullus clericus amercietur de laico tenemento suo, nisi secundum modum aliorum predictorum, et non secundum quantitatem beneficii sul ecclesiastici. [Articles, c. 10; 1225, c. 14.]



[23] No vill or individual shall be compelled to make bridges at river banks, except those who from of old are legally bound to do so.

23. Nec villa nec homo distringatur facere pontes ad riparias, nisi qui ab antiquo et de jure facere debent. [Articles, c. 11; 1225, c. 15.]



[24] No sheriff, constable, coroners, or others of our bailiffs, shall hold pleas of our crown.


24. Nullus vicecomes, constabularius, coronatores, vel alii ballivi nostri, teneant placita corone nostre. [Articles, c. 14; 12259 c. 17.]



[25] All counties, hundreds, wapentakes and trithings shall be at the old rents without any additional payment, exept our demesne manors.

25. Omnes comitatus, hundredi, wapentakii, et trethingi sint ad antiquas firmas absque ullo incremento, exceptis dominicis maneriis nostris. [Articles, c. 14.]



[26] If anyone holding a lay fief of us dies and our sheriff or bailiff shows our letters patent of summons for a debt that the deceased owed us, it shall be lawful for our sheriff or bailiff to attach and make a list of chattels of the deceased found upon the lay fief to the value of that debt under the supervision of law-worthy men, provided that none of the chattels shall be removed until the debt which is manifest has been paid to us in full; and the residue shall be left to the executors for carrying out the will of the deceased. And if nothing is owing to us from him, all the chattels shall accrue to the deceased, saving to his wife and children their reasonable shares.

26. Si aliquis tenens de nobis laicum feodum moriatur, et vicecomes vel ballivus noster ostendat litteras nostras patentes de summonicione nostra de debito quod defunctus nobis debuit, liceat vicecomiti vel ballivo nostro attachiare et inbreviare catalla defuncti inventa in laico feodo, ad valenciam illius debiti, per visum legallum hominum, ita tamen quod nichil inde amoveatur, donec persolvatur nobis debitum quod clarum fuerit, et residuum relinquatur executoribus ad faciendum testamentum defuncti; et si nichil nobis debeatur ab ipso, omnia catalla cedant defuncto, salvis uxori ipsius et pueris racionabilibus partibus suis. [Articles, c. 15; 1225, c. 18.]



[27] If any free man dies without leaving a will, his chattels shall be distributed by his nearest kinsfolk and friends under the supervision of the church, saving to every one the debts which the deceased owed him.

27. Sl aliquis liber homo intestatus decesserit, catalla sua per manus propinquorum parentum et amicorum suorum, per visum ecclesie, distribuantur, salvis unicuique debitis que defunctus el debebat. [Articles, c. 16.]



[28] No constable or other bailiff of ours shall take anyone’s corn or other chattels unless he pays on the spot in cash for them or can delay payment by arrangement with the seller.

28. Nullus constabularius, vel alius ballivus noster, capiat blada vel alia catalla allcujus, nisi statim inde reddat denarios, aut respectum inde habere possit de voluntate venditoris. [Articles, c. 18; 1225, c. 19.]



[29] No constable shall compel any knight to give money instead of castle-guard if he is willing to do the guard himself or through another good man, if for some good reason he cannot do it himself; and if we lead or send him on military service, he shall be excused guard in proportion to the time that because of us he has been on service.

29. Nullus constabularius distringat aliquem militem ad dandum denarios pro custodia castri, si facere voluerit custodiam illam in propria persona sua, vel per alium probum hominem, si ipse eam facere non possit propter racionabilem causam; et si nos duxerimus vel miserimus eum in exercitum, erit quietus de custodia, secundum quantitatem temporis quo per nos fuerit in exercitu. [Articles, c. 19; 1225, c. 20.]



[30] No sheriff, or bailiff of ours, or anyone else shall take the horses or carts of any free man for transport work save with the agreement of that freeman.

30. Nullus vicecomes, vel ballivus noster, vel aliquis alius, capiat equos vel carettas allcujus liberi hominis pro cariagio faciendo, nisi de voluntate ipsius liberi hominis. [Articles, c. 20; 1225, C. 21.]



[31] Neither we nor our bailiffs will take, for castles or other works of ours, timber which is not ours, except with the greement of him whose timber it is.

31. Nec nos nec ballivi nostri capiemus alienum boscum ad castra vel alia agenda nostra, nisi per voluntatem ipsius cujus boscus ille fuerit. [Articles, c. 21; 1225, c. 21.]



[32] We will not hold for more than a year and a day the lands of those convicted of felony, and then the lands shall be handed over to the lords of the fiefs.

32. Nos non tenebimus terras illorum qui convicti fuerint de felonia, nisi per unum annum et unum diem, et tunc reddantur terre dominis feodorum. [Articles, c. 22; 1225, c. 22.]



[33] Henceforth all fish-weirs shall be cleared completely from the Thames and the Medway and throughout all England, except along the sea coast.

33. Omnes kidelli de cetero deponantur penitus de Tamisia, et de Medewaye, et per totam Angliam, nisi per costeram maris. [Articles, c. 23; 1225, c. 23.]



[34] The writ called Praecipe shall not in future be issued to anyone in respect of any holding whereby a free man may lose his court.

34. Breve quod vocatur 'Precipe' de cetero non fiat alicui de aliquo tenemento unde liber homo amittere possit curiam suam. [Articles, c. 24; 1225, c. 24.]



[35] Let there be one measure for wine throughout our kingdom, and one measure for ale, and one measure for corn, namely "the London quarter"; and one width for cloths whether dyed, russet or halberget, namely two ells within the selvedges. Let it be the same with weights as with measures.

35. Una mensura vini sit per totum regnum nostrum, et una mensura cervisie, et una mensura bladi, scilicet quarterium Londoniense, et una latitudo pannorum tinctorum et russetorum et halbergettorum, scilicet due ulne infra listas; de ponderibus autem sit ut de mensuris. [Articles, c. 12; 1225, c. 25.]



[36] Nothing shall be given or taken in future for the writ of inquisition of life or limbs: instead it shall be granted free of charge and not refused.

36. Nichil detur vel capiatur de cetero pro brevi inquisicionis de vita vel membris, set gratis concedatur et non negetur. [Articles, c. 26; 1225, c. 26.]



[37] If anyone holds of us by fee-farm, by socage, or by burgage, and holds land of another by knight service, we will not, by reason of that fee-farm, socage, or burgage, have the wardship of his heir or of land of his that is of the fief of the other; nor will we have custody of the fee-farm, socage, or burgage, unless such fee-farm owes knight service. We will not have custody of anyone’s heir or land which he holds of another by knight service by reason of any petty serjeanty which he holds of us by the service of rendering to us knives or arrows or the like.

37. Si aliquis teneat de nobis per feodifirmam, vel per sokagium, vel per burgagium, et de alio terram, teneat per servicium militare, nos non habebimus custodiam heredis nec terre sue que est de feodo alterius occasione illius feodifirme, vel sokagii, vel burgagii; nec habebimus custodiam illius feodifirme, vel sokagii, vel burgagii, nisi ipsa feodifirma debeat servicium militare. Nos non habebimus custodiam heredis vel terre alicujus, quam tenet de alio per servicium militare, occasione alicujus parve serjanterie quam tenet de nobis per servicium reddendi nobis cultellos, vel sagittas, vel hujusmodi. [Articles, c. 27; 1225, c. 27.]



[38] No bailiff shall in future put anyone to trial upon his own bare word, without reliable witnesses produced for this purpose.

38. Nullus ballivus ponat decetero aliquem ad legem simplici loquela sua, sine testibus fidelibus ad hoc inductis. [Articles, c. 28; 1225, c. 28.]



[39] No free man shall be arrested or imprisoned or disseised or outlawed or exiled or in any way victimized, neither will we attack him or send anyone to attack him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.

39. Nullus liber homo capiatur, vel imprisonetur, aut disseisiatur, aut utlagetur, aut exuletur, aut aliquo modo destruatur, nec super cum ibimus, nec super cum mittemus, nisi per legale judicium parium suorum vel per legem terre. [Articles, c. 29; 1225, c. 29.]



[40] To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay right or justice.

40. Nulli vendemus, nulli negabimus aut differemus rectum aut justiciam. [Articles, c. 30; 1225 c. 29.]



[41] All merchants shall be able to go out of and come into England safely and securely and stay and travel throughout England, as well by land as by water, for buying and selling by the ancient and right customs free from all evil tolls, except in time of war and if they are of the land that is at war with us. And if such are found in our land at the beginning of a war, they shall be attached, without injury to their persons or goods, until we, or our chief justiciar, know how merchants of our land are treated who were found in the land at war with us when war broke out, and if ours are safe there, the others shall be safe in our land.

41. Omnes mercatores habeant salvum et securum exire de Anglia, et venire in Angliam, et morari, et ire per Angliam, tam per terram quam per aquam, ad emendum et vendendum, sine omnibus malis toltis, per antiquas et rectas consuetudines, preterquam in tempore gwerre, et si sint de terra contra nos gwerrina; et si tales inveniantur in terra nostra in principio gwerre, attachientur sine dampno corporum et rerum, donec sciatur a nobis vel capitali justiciario nostro quomodo mercatores terre nostre tractentur, qui tunc invenientur in terra contra nos gwerrina; et si nostri salvi sint ibi, alii salvi sint in terra nostra. [Articles, c. 3 1; 1225, c. 30.]



[42] It shall be lawful in future for anyone, without prejudicing the allegiance due to us, to leave our kingdom and return safely and securely by land and water, save, in the public interest, for a short period in time of war -- except for those imprisoned or outlawed in accordance with the law of the kingdom and natives of a land that is at war with us and merchants (who shall be treated as aforesaid).

42. Liceat unicuique decetero exire de regno nostro, et redire, salvo et secure, per terram et per aquam, salva fide nostra, nisi tempore gwerre per aliquod breve tempus, propter communem utilitatem regni, exceptis imprisonatis et utlagatis secundum legem regni, et gente de terra contra nos gwerrina, et mercatoribus, de quibus fiat sicut predictum est. [Articles, c. 33.]



[43] If anyone who holds of some escheat such as the honor of Wallingford, Nottingham, Boulogne, Lancaster, or of other escheats which are in our hands and are baronies dies, his heir shall give no other relief and do no other service to us than he would have done to the baron if that barony had been in the baron’s hands; and we will hold it in the same manner in which the baron held it.

43. Si quis tenuerit de aliqua eskaeta, sicut de honore Wallingefordie, Notingeham, Bolonie, Lancastrie, vel de aliis eskaetis que sunt in manu nostra et sunt baronie, et obierit, heres ejus non det aliud relevium, nec faciat nobis aliud servicium quam faceret baroni si baronia illa esset in manu baronis; et nos eodem modo eam tenebimus quo baro eam tenuit. [Articles, c. 36; 1225, c. 31.]



[44] Men who live outside the forest need not henceforth come before our justices of the forest upon a general summons, unless they are impleaded or are sureties for any person or persons who are attached for forest offenses.

44. Homines qui manent extra forestam non veniant decetero coram justiciariis nostris de foresta per communes summoniciones, nisi sint in placito, vel plegii alicujus vel aliquorum, qui attachiati sint pro foresta. [Articles, c. 39; Cart. For., c. 2.]



[45] We will not make justices, constables, sheriffs or bailiffs save of such as know the law of the kingdom and mean to observe it well.

45. Nos non faciemus justiciarios, constabularios, vicecomites, vel ballivos, nisi de talibus qui sciant legem regni et eam bene velint observare. [Articles, c. 42.]



[46] All barons who have founded abbeys for which they have charters of the kings of England or ancient tenure shall have the custody of them during vacancies, as they ought to have.

46. Omnes barones qui fundaverunt abbacias, unde habent cartas regum Anglie, vel antiquam tenuram, habeant earum custodiam cum vacaverint, sicut habere debent. [Articles, c. 43; 1225, c. 33.]



[47] All forests that have been made forest in our time shall be immediately disafforested; and so be it done with riverbanks that have been made preserves by us in our time.

47. Omnes foreste que afforestate sunt tempore nostro, statim deafforestentur; et ita fiat de ripariis que per nos tempore nostro posite sunt in defenso. [Articles, c. 47; 1225 c. 16; Cart. For., c. 3.]



[48] All evil customs connected with forests and warrens, foresters and warreners, sheriffs and their officials, riverbanks and their wardens shall immediately be inquired into in each county by twelve sworn knights of the same county who are to be chosen by good men of the same county, and within forty days of the completion of the inquiry shall be utterly abolished by them so as never to be restored, provided that we, or our justiciar if we are not in England, know of it first.

48. Omnes male consuetudines, de forestis et warennis, et de forestariis et warennariis, vicecomitibus et eorum ministris, ripariis et earum custodibus, statim inquirantur in quolibet comitatu per duodecim milites, juratos de eodem comitatu, qui debent eligi per probos homines ejusdem comitatus, et infra quadraginta dies post inquisicionem factam, penitus, ita quod numquam revocentur, deleantur (per eosdem, ita quod nos hoc sciamus prius, vel justiciarius noster, si in Anglia non fuerimus).[1] [Articles, c. 39.]



[49] We will immediately return all hostages and charters given to us by Englishmen, as security for peace or faithful service.

49. Omnes obsides, et cartas statim reddemus, que liberate fuerunt nobis ab Anglicis in securitatem pacis vel fidelis servicii. [Articles, c. 38.]



[50] We will remove completely from office the relations of Gerard de Athee so that in future they shall have no office in England, namely Engelard de Cigogne, Peter and Guy and Andrew de Chanceaux, Guy de Cigogne, Geoffrey de Martigny and his brothers, Philip Marc and his brothers and his nephew Geoffrey, and all their following.

50. Nos amovebimus penitus de balliis, parentes Gerardi de Athyes, quod decetero nullam habeant balliam in Anglia, Engelardum de Cygony, Petrum et Gionem et Andream de Cancellis, Gionem de Cygony, Galfridum de Martinny et fratres ejus, Philippum Marc et fratres ejus, et Galfridum nepotem ejus, et totam sequelam eorundem. [Articles, c. 40.]



[51] As soon as peace is restored, we will remove from the kingdom all foreign knights, cross-bowmen, serjeants, and mercenaries, who have come with horses and arms to the detriment of the kingdom.

51. Et statim post pacis reformacionem amovebimus de regno omnes alienigenas milites, balistarios, servientes, stipendiarios, qui venerint cum equis et armis ad nocumentum regni. [Articles, c. 41.]



[52] If anyone has been disseised of or kept out of his lands, castles, franchises or his right by us without the legal judgment of his peers, we will immediately restore them to him: and if a dispute arises over this, then let it be decided by the judgment of the twenty-five barons who are mentioned below in the clause for securing the peace: for all the things, however, which anyone has been disseised or kept out of without the lawful judgment of his peers by king Henry, our father, or by king Richard, our brother, which we have in our hand or are held by others, to whom we are bound to warrant them, we will have the usual period of respite of crusaders, excepting those things about which a plea was started or an inquest made by our command before we took the cross; when however we return from our pilgrimage, or if by any chance we do not go on it, we will at once do full justice therein.

52. Si quis fuerit disseisitus vel elongatus per nos sine legali judicio parium suorum de terris, castellis, libertatibus, vel jure suo, statim ea ei restituemus; et si contencio super hoc orta fuerit, tunc inde fiat per judicium viginti quinque baronum, de quibus fit mencio inferius in securitate pacis. De omnibus autem illis de quibus aliquis disseisitus fuerit vel elongatus sine legali judicio parium suorum, per Henricum regem patrem nostrum vel per Ricardum regem fratrem nostrum, que in manu nostra habemus, vel que alii tenent, que nos oporteat warantizare, respectum habebimus usque ad communem terminum crucesignatorum, exceptis illis de quibus placitum motum fuit vel inquisicio facta per preceptum nostrum ante suscepcionem crucis nostre; cum autem
redierimus de peregrinacione nostra, vel si forte remanserimus a peregrinacione nostra, statim inde plenam justiciam exhibebimus. [Articles, c. 25.]



[53] We will have the same respite, and in the same manner, in the doing of justice in the matter of the disafforesting or retaining of the forests which Henry our father or Richard our brother afforested, and in the matter of the wardship of lands which are of the fief of another, wardships of which sort we have hitherto had by reason of a fief which anyone held of us by knight service, and in the matter of abbeys founded on the fief of another, not on a fief of our own, in which the lord of the fief claims he has a right; and when we have returned, or if we do not set out on our pilgrimage, we will at once do full justice to those who complain of these things.

53. Eundem autem respectum habebimus (et eodem modo de justicia exhibenda),[2] de forestis deafforestandis (vel
remansuris forestis)[3] quas Henricus pater noster vel Ricardus frater noster afforestaverunt, et de custodiis terrarum que sunt de alieno feodo, cujusmodi custodias hucusque habuimus occasione feodi quod aliquis de nobis tenuit per servicium militare, et de abbaciis que fundate fuerint in feodo alterius quam nostro, in quibus dominus feodi dixerit se jus habere; et cum redierimus, vel si remanserimus a peregrinacione nostra, super hiis conquerentibus plenam justiciam statim exhibebimus.



[54] No one shall be arrested or imprisoned upon the appeal of a woman for the death of anyone except her husband.

54. Nullus capiatur nec imprisonetur propter appellum femine de morte alterius quam viri sui. [1225, c. 34.]



[55] All fines made with us unjustly and against the law of the land, and all amercements imposed unjustly and against the law of the land, shall be entirely remitted, or else let them be settled by the judgment of the twenty-five barons who are mentioned below in the clause for securing the peace, or by the judgment of the majority of the same, along with the aforesaid Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury, if he can be present, and such others as he may wish to associate with himself for this purpose, and if he cannot be present the business shall nevertheless proceed without him, provided that if any one or more of the aforesaid twenty-five barons are in a like suit, they shall be removed from the judgment of the case in question, and others chosen, sworn and put in their place by the rest of the same twenty-five for this case only.

55. 0mnes fines qui injuste et contra legem terre facti sunt nobiscum, et omnia amerciamenta facta injuste et contra legem terre, omnino condonentur, vel fiat inde perjudicium viginti quinque baronum de quibus fit mencio inferius in securitate pacis, vel per judicium majoris partis eorundem, una cum predicto Stephano Cantuariensi archiepiscopo si interesse poterit et aliis quos secum ad hoc vocare voluerit. Et si interesse non poterit, nichilominus procedat negocium sine eo, ita quod, si aliquis vel aliqui de predictis viginti quinque baronibus fuerint in simili querela, amoveantur quantum ad hoc judicium et alii loco eorum per residuos de eisdem viginti quinque tantum ad hoc faciendum electi et jurati substituantur. [Articles, c. 37.]



[56] If we have disseised or kept out Welshmen from lands or liberties or other things without the legal judgment of their peers in England or in Wales, they shall be immediately restored to them; and if a dispute arises over this, then let it be decided in the March by the judgment of their peers -- for holdings in England according to the law of England, for holdings in Wales according to the law of Wales, and for holdings in the March according to the law of the March. Welshmen shall do the same to us and ours.

56. Si nos disseisivimus vel elongavimus Walenses de terris vel libertatibus vel rebus aliis, sine legali judicio parium suorum (in Anglia vel in Wallia),[4] eis statim reddantur; et si contencio super hoc orta fuerit, tunc inde fiat in Marchia per judicium parium suorum de tenementis Anglie secundum legem Anglie; de tenementis Wallie secundum legem Wallie; de tenementis Marchic secundum legem Marchie. Idem facient Walenses nobis et nostris. [Articles, c. 44.]



[57] For all the things, however, which any Welshman was disseised of or kept out of without the lawful judgment of his peers by king Henry, our father, or king Richard, our brother, which we have in our hand or which are held by others, to whom we are bound to warrant them, we will have the usual period of respite of crusaders, excepting those things about which a plea was started or an inquest made by our command before we took the cross; when however we return, or if by any chance we do not set out on our pilgrimage, we will at once do full justice to them in accordance with the laws of the Welsh and the foresaid regions.

57. De omnibus autem illis de quibus aliquis Walensium disseisitus fuerit vel elongatus, sine legali judicio parium suorum, per Henricum regem patrem nostrum vel Ricardum regem fratrem nostrum, que nos in manu nostra habemus, vel que alii tenent que nos oporteat warantizare, respectum habebimus usque ad communem terminum crucesignatorum, illis exceptis de quibus placitum motum fuit vel inquisicio facta per preceptum nostrum ante suscepcionem crucis nostre; cum autem redierimus, vel si forte remanscrimus a peregrinatione nostra, statim eis inde plenam justitiam exhibebimus, secundum leges Walensium et partes predictas. [Articles, c. 44.]



[58] We will give back at once the son of Llywelyn and all the hostages from Wales and the charters that were handed over to us as security for peace.

58. Nos reddemus filium Lewelini statim, et omnes obsides de Wallia, et cartas que nobis liberate fuerunt in securitatem pacis. [Articles, c. 45.]


Comments

I took a trip to see the monument there at Runeymede. The place quite beautiful, despite the main road a little way away. It was very moving to think that this was where it all started, and that it all ended less than 800 years later, on the 2nd of May, 1997.

Now the Privy Council has approved the new constitution for the overseas territory of the Virgin Islands.

Qualifications for elected membership
65.— Subject to this section and section 66, a person shall be qualified to be elected as a member
of the House of Assembly if, and shall not be qualified to be so elected unless, he or she—
(a) was so qualified immediately before the commencement of this Constitution; or
(b) is a person who—
(i) is a Virgin Islander of the age of twenty-one years or upwards; and
(ii) is otherwise qualified as a voter under section 68.
(2)Subject to subsections (3) and (4), for the purposes of subsection (1)(b)(i) a “Virgin Islander” is
a person who belongs to the Virgin Islands by birth or descent who was—
(a) born in the Virgin Islands of a father or mother who at the time of the birth was a British
overseas territories citizen (or a British Dependent Territories citizen) by virtue of birth in
the Virgin Islands or by virtue of descent from a father or mother who was born in the
Virgin Islands;
(b) born in the Virgin Islands of a father or mother who at the time of the birth belonged to
the Virgin Islands by birth or descent; or
(c) born outside the Virgin Islands of a father or mother who at the time of the birth belonged
to the Virgin Islands by birth or descent.
(3)A person born outside the Virgin Islands who belongs to the Virgin Islands by descent shall not
be qualified to be elected as a member of the House of Assembly unless one of his or her
grandparents belonged to the Virgin Islands by birth.
(4)A person, whether born in or outside the Virgin Islands, who would otherwise be qualified to
be elected as an elected member of the House of Assembly by virtue of subsection (1)(b) shall not
be so qualified unless—
(a) where that person has never been domiciled in the Virgin Islands, he or she has resided in
the Virgin Islands for at least five years immediately before the date of his or her
nomination for election; or
(b) where that person was formerly domiciled in the Virgin Islands but has lived outside the
Virgin Islands for a continuous period of at least ten years (excluding periods related to
medical or educational purposes), he or she has resided in the Virgin Islands for at least
three years immediately before the date of his or her nomination for election and is
domiciled in the Virgin Islands at that date.

That's right, after it comes into force, a subsequently naturalised citizen will not be eligible to stand for election! So there are two classes of citizen. If this isn't discrimination, being condoned by the Privy Council, then my diet for the next five years will be hats.

For those interested, the entire document can be found here.
http://bvinews.com/clients/bvinews/Constitution.pdf

This is the beginning of the end for a proud history, soon to be followed by complete submission to the EU.

Thinking about Magna Carta, the barons,and Tony Blair. . .

At Brits at their Best, "Never a dull moment on the road to Runnymede", we observed that almost all the barons witnessed John's surrender of the kingdom of England to the papacy on May 15, 1213. This meant that in addition to pleasing John as their liege lord the barons would also have to please the Pope as their liege lord's lord. Given the heavy and capricious taxation they were already experiencing under John, they were not well pleased.

The barons did not want England to be a fiefdom of the Pope for several reasons. The most obvious is that a distant, powerful ruler is impossible to affect. He doesn’t have to listen to you, and he probably won’t. He will not understand or respond to your local affairs. He will send out legates, but they will be interested in pleasing him. They will not be particularly interested in responding to your concerns. Though there are British Members of the European Parliament and though there is a British Minister at meetings of the Council of Ministers, they have little voice, for there are 26 other nations squabbling for place in Brussels. All the power resides with the European Commissioners who are unelected and unsackable.

Then there is the problem of Tony Blair, a relatively young man. One of the dangers of electing young men to high office aside from their lack of wisdom is that they want to stay there a long time and they don't know what to do with themselves when at long last they go. It seems possible that what Tony would like to do is become the first elected President of the EU. For this to happen he will have to sell out Britain, which would be swallowed by the EU, and see its history, traditions, and future hopes come to an end.

John made the deal to advance his own interests. It seems likely that Tony will, too. He persuaded Labour Party members they could win Parliament if they followed him and he gutted their party of its core principles. To their eternal shame they agreed. (This shame, more than anything, explains their vindictive efforts to destroy the traditions of British country people whom they imagine are their class enemies. They were trying to feel better about their sell-out to Tony. Can anything else explain their obsessive concern with the welfare of foxes? Of course I except from critique those dear souls who do not eat meat and do not wear leather shoes.)

Since Tony’s only principle is winning, it is a given he will do anything he can to advance his own interests. He will, of course, tell us that it is for our own good. He will cloak his own interests in fine, false words and he will be shocked, shocked and saddened, when anyone suggests he cares only about his own vanity and success.

British history as currently taught suggests that Magna Carta was the product of selfish barons winning one over a king. This is an insult to all those clergy who supported the cause because they were inspired by Judaeo-Christian principles of justice and freedom and it is a mortal insult to the Londoners who threw open their gates to support the cause and to the people of Exeter and Lincoln who rose to support rebellion against a corrupt and tyrannical king. The barons could not have won without the English people. Without them Magna Carta would be a minor footnote in a book.

Let us make sure it does not become a minor footnote on our watch.

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