Magna Carta through eight centuries
- George Garnett
Magna Carta was the ‘charter of liberties’ granted by King John in the Thames-side water meadow known as Runnymede, 3½ miles from Windsor, in June 1215. Though it took the form of a royal charter, it was in effect a treaty between the king and the wide-ranging coalition of his barons, whom he had provoked into waging war against him by his over-ingenious and in many respects unprecedentedly arbitrary exercise of his lordly powers. Drafted at great speed under threat of renewal of hostilities, it was intensively negotiated, and as a consequence jumbled minute regulations of administrative detail with lofty statements of principle. Granted in perpetuity, it was annulled by ...