Michael: The Signing of the Magna Carta

A popular myth about the Magna Carta that survived until the late 19th century was that it had its basis in an ancient English constitution. This constitution was dissolved during the Norman Invasion of 1066. However, this theory has never been able to be proven.

The king has decided to re-issue Magna Carta, the document which humiliated his father in 1215.

There are strong influences from Magna Carta in the American Bill of Rights (written in 1791). To this day there is a 1297 copy in the National Archives in Washington DC.

19th-century recreation of King John signing the Magna Carta

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The Queen's row barge The Gloriana travels along the River Thames carrying a copy of the Magna Carta and an actor dressed as King John as part of the 800th anniversary celebrations (Christopher Pledger)

Featured Documents | National Archives

Magna Carta was first drawn up in 1215, granted by King John on June 15 at Runnymede near the River Thames in Surrey. A different version (the one we draw from today) was reissued by John's son, Henry III, 10 years later in 1225. Magna Carta was finally enrolled on the statute book (meaning it became part of English law) by Edward I in 1297.

Lawful Rebellion – Clause 61 Magna Carta (1215) | diogenese

Not at all - in fact it failed spectacularly. Although John agreed to Magna Carta at first, he quickly became bitter when its terms were forced upon him. He wrote to the Pope to get it annulled. The Pope actually happened to agree with John (for once), saying Magna Carta was "illegal, unjust, harmful to royal rights and shameful to the English people". He then declared the charter "null and void of all validity for ever".

Lawful Rebellion – Clause 61 Magna Carta (1215) | …

Magna Carta is an 800-year-old document containing the idea that no-one is above the law, and it still forms the foundation of many modern ideas and documents today. Hand-written in Latin on sheepskin, it’s around 3,500 words. The four copies are from different hands and the transcribers made mistakes.

Runnymede and Ankerwycke | National Trust

Henry III came to the throne aged just nine. A few days into his reign, important men around the young king issued a new version of Magna Carta to try to regain the barons' support. When Henry reached 18 years old he reissued a greatly-revised version in his own name. This 1225 document was granted explicitly in return for a tax payment by the whole kingdom.

The Thames: Runnymede Meadow | Wanderlust

The animated doodle shows King John signing the Magna Carta, meaning ‘The Great Charter’ - which is one of the most famous documents in the world.