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47 posts categorized "Magna Carta"

27 May 2015

The Document That (Almost) Changed the Course of History

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You may be aware that some of the most famous documents in the world are currently on display at the British Library. One of those is Magna Carta (for good measure, we have no fewer than 6 of the medieval copies in our exhibition); others are the Petition of Right and English Bill of Rights (both kindly loaned to us by the Parliamentary Archives) and the US Bill of Rights (on loan from the US National Archives). The last-named is visiting the United Kingdom for the very first time, and is a particular favourite of ours. It bears the signature of John Adams, Vice President (and later 2nd President) of the USA (d. 1826), and it was sealed by Delaware in January 1790 before being returned to the federal government. It's a truly impressive item, supplying the first 12 proposed amendments to the US constitution.

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The signature of John Adams and seal of the General Assembly of Delaware, at the foot of the Delaware copy of the US Bill of Rights (courtesy of the US National Archives, Washington, DC)

And if all that is not enough, the British Library also has on show, again for the first time in the United Kingdom, a manuscript of the United States Declaration of Independence, loaned by New York Public Library! Like the other documents we've mentioned, we're absolutely thrilled to have the Declaration of Independence in our Magna Carta exhibition. But there's a curious story behind this particular document, and we thought we'd share it with you.

The manuscript in question was written by Thomas Jefferson himself, who drafted the Declaration of Independence and later went on to become 3rd President of the USA (1801–1809; d. 1826). Jefferson had been profoundly influenced by Magna Carta in his legal thinking, and while he did not mention the Great Charter by name in the Declaration, many of its concepts derived ultimately from Magna Carta. Among the charges levelled against King George III were, 'For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world; For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent; For depriving us of the benefits of Trial by Jury.'

What is particularly important about the manuscript on display at the British Library this summer is that it preserves Jefferson's original text of the Declaration of Independence, before it had been amended and ratified by his fellow delegates of the Second Continental Congress at Philadelphia in July 1776. Jefferson made his copy in the days immediately following the ratification of that document, and he underlined those words and phrases which had been removed.

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One of the pages of Thomas Jefferson's manuscript copy of the United States Declaration of Independence (courtesy of New York Public Library)

Certain of the passages in the draft Declaration of Independence deleted by the Second Continental Congress are worthy of special attention. At the bottom of the third page, Jefferson had originally written, '[George III] is unfit to be the ruler of a people who mean to be free. Future ages will scarce believe that the hardiness of one man adventured within the short compass of twelve years only, to build a foundation, so broad and undisguised, for tyranny over a people fostered and fixed in principles of freedom.' Students of American history will search in vain in the published text of the Declaration for the words underlined above. They were struck out in Philadelphia before that document was ratified, with the sentence in question instead ending, 'is unfit to be the ruler of a free people'.

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An underlined passage in the Declaration of Independence, representing words that did not make it into the final, published version (courtesy of New York Public Library)

There are many other such words and phrases in Jefferson's manuscript of the Declaration, and you really have to see it in person at the British Library this summer in order to get a true impression of how much it had been revised. But a second passage in this, one of the most famous documents in the world, has inspired the title of this blog-post. The phrase in question is found on the same page as the previous passage cited, and one of the words is written in block capitals for further emphasis:

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Thomas Jefferson's denunciation of the slave trade, later removed from the final version of the United States Declaration of Independence (courtesy of New York Public Library)

'He has waged cruel war against <...> itself, violating it's most sacr<ed ...> of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people, who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian king of Great Britain, determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce.'

Now, we're not going to enter here into the debate about Thomas Jefferson's attitude to slavery. He expressed opposition to the slave trade throughout his career and in 1807 he signed a bill that prohibited slave importation into the United States; that said, Jefferson was also the owner of hundreds of slaves. However, it does strike us that this passage, with its forthright language ('this piratical warfare', 'this execrable commerce'), could easily have changed the course of history if adopted in America as early as 1776. You'll have to come to the British Library to see this awe-inspiring document with your own eyes ...

Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy is on display at the British Library until 1 September 2015. Entrance costs £12 for adults, under 18s go free, and other concessions are available.

 

 

14 May 2015

Magna Carta (An Embroidery)

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Today Cornelia Parker’s new artwork, Magna Carta (An Embroidery), is being unveiled at the British Library. Commissioned by the Ruskin School of Art at the University of Oxford in partnership with the British Library, the artwork is a 13 metre-long embroidery of the Wikipedia page on Magna Carta, as it stood on 15 June 2014, Magna Carta’s 799th birthday. The embroidery, which is the work of over 200 stitchers, is the result of more than two years of planning.

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Cornelia Parker with a fragment of Magna Carta (An Embroidery) in the British Library (photograph by Tony Antoniou)

Paul Bonaventura of the Ruskin School of Art first contacted me in March 2013 to discuss the idea of fundraising to commission a new work of art that would take Magna Carta as its point of departure and be premiered in the Library during our exhibition, Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy, which runs until 1 September. This proposal became a reality thanks to funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and from the John Fell OUP Research Fund.

Cornelia Parker’s proposal was chosen from ideas presented by the shortlisted artists in February 2014, setting in train the enormous logistical task of organising the work of all the many stitchers. The majority of the words have been sewn by almost forty prisoners, with the remainder being added by a wide range of public figures, politicians, campaigners, academics and lawyers. These include Mary Beard, Kenneth Clarke MP, Jarvis Cocker, Germaine Greer, Baroness Doreen Lawrence, Caroline Lucas MP, Lord Judge, Eliza Manningham-Buller, Jon Snow, Edward Snowden, Peter Tatchell and Baroness Warsi. There are also contributions from some very skilled embroiderers from the Embroiderers’ Guild, the Royal School of Needlework and the company Hand & Lock, and from some rather less skilled stitchers from the staff of the British Library.

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King John signs Magna Carta (1902) stitched by Janet Payne, Embroiderers’ Guild (Eastern Region)

I took a break from an intense period in the preparation for the opening of our Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy exhibition to sew a few words, including ‘British Library’, late one night in January this year. It was quite a challenge to keep my sewing up to the standard of the surrounding words sewn by prisoners already trained in stitching by Fine Cell Work, a social enterprise that trains prisoners in paid, skilled, creative needlework. Sewing my words was a chance to reflect not only on the many hands that had contributed to the embroidery, but also the many different people over the centuries who have reused, reinterpreted and reworked Magna Carta itself.

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Claire Breay, Head of Ancient, Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts, embroidering the words ‘British Library’ (photograph by Noah Timlin)

Cornelia said, ‘I wanted the embroidery to raise questions about where we are now with the principles laid down in the Magna Carta, and about the challenges to all kinds of freedoms that we face in the digital age. Like a Wikipedia article, this embroidery is multi-authored and full of many different voices.’

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Detail of one of 1215 Magna Carta documents, held by the British Library. Stitched by Pam Keeling, Embroiderers’ Guild (East Midlands Region).

Magna Carta (An Embroidery) is on free display in the front hall of the British Library from 15 May to 24 July. The exhibition is accompanied by a film, a publication and even mirrors so that you can see parts of the back of the embroidery.

Claire Breay

13 May 2015

The First Edition and Translation of Magna Carta

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Our latest Magna Carta blogpost focuses on the first printed edition and translation of Magna Carta, from the reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII. All the items described here can be viewed in our major exhibition, Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy, which is on at the British Library until 1 September 2015.

The first time that the Latin text of Magna Carta was printed in its entirety was in 1508, when the king’s printer (regius impressor) Richard Pynson (c. 1449–1529/30), published it alongside other statutes, in Magna Carta Carta cum aliis Antiquis Statutis. Pynson's edition reproduced in 37 clauses King Henry III’s Magna Carta of 1225, as confirmed and enrolled on the Statute Book in 1297 by Edward I.

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The first printed edition of Magna Carta, 1508 (British Library C.112.a.2)

Richard Pynson was born in Normandy in the mid-15th century (around the same time that Johannes Gutenberg was developing movable type printing technology), but by 1482 he had moved to London to work as a glover. By 1496 he had set up as a ‘pouchemaker’ and ‘bokeprynter’, eventually setting up business in Fleet Street in 1502, close to the legal trade associated with the London Inns of Court. Although Pynson’s first publications were religious, the printing of legal texts dominated his trade, and by 1506 he was made printer to the king with exclusive rights to print all parliamentary statutes and royal proclamations.    

Magna Carta Carta cum aliis Antiquis Statutis was one of the titles he produced for this legal trade centred around the Inns of Court. As well as containing Magna Carta in full, the edition also reproduced the complete text of the Charter of the Forest and a further 63 statutes drafted in both Latin and law French. Conceived as a practical handbook for practising lawyers, the edition drew on a long-standing tradition of bespoke manuscript compilations of laws used for legal training since the Middle Ages. Such manuscript collections underpinned the common law traditions of Tudor legal culture, and with the growth in the printing trade it was a culture that was gradually transforming from one based on irregular manuscript compilations to standardised printed texts. This was important. As a result of the standardisation of these legal textbooks, beginning with Magna Carta, the Great Charter became literally the first statute that every trained lawyer in the Inns of Court encountered in print and it was soon considered to be the foundational statute of the realm.

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The first published English translation of Magna Carta, 1534 (British Library C 112.a.6)

Following the publication of the first Latin edition of Magna Carta in 1508 it was not long until the first English translation of the full text of Magna Carta was published, in 1534. The translation was made by the Tudor courtier and poet, George Ferrers (c. 1510–1579), who was associated with Thomas Cromwell, chief minister to King Henry VIII. The book itself was printed by Robert Redman (d. 1540), an early rival of Richard Pynson’s who would later take over his premises in Fleet Street. Like Pynson, Redman largely produced legal texts for the legal market generated by the Inns of Court, and he developed the business by producing English translations of previously untranslated statutes with the useful inclusion of alphabetised indexes. Ferrers’ translation, however, was not a good one. It contained many errors that were further compounded by printer’s mistakes. Subsequent editions would announce the ‘great deal of care’ taken to correct the text and these corrected versions ran into many editions throughout the 16th and 17th centuries.

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The Life of Sir Thomas More (British Library G.1580)

The appearance of these books by Pynson and Ferrers had a significant impact on the dissemination, use and popular awareness of Magna Carta in the 16th century. In the years following their publication the range of legal invocations of Magna Carta proliferated. From 1508 onwards it was often invoked in the law courts to protect due process from royal interference in, particular the summoning of men without charge under the king’s privy seal. Furthermore, within two years of the publication of the first English translation in 1534, Magna Carta was widely called upon by those opposing of Henry VIII’s religious reforms. It was used by Sir Thomas More (1478-1535) at his trial in 1535 and by participants in the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536 who looked to the Charter’s first clause confirming the liberties of the English Church. That these invocations coincided with the publications of these books on Magna Carta is no coincidence. Awareness of the Great Charter and the political uses to which it could be applied was clearly growing. Its invocation was no mere rhetorical flourish, but evidence of a vibrant legal discourse that was growing as a result of these early publications.

For details about our exhibition, see our dedicated website, Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy.

Alexander Lock

10 May 2015

09 May 2015

Magna Carta and the King's Forests

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In medieval England, forest wardens were an important part of the administration of the kingdom, especially since hunting was a favourite royal pastime. According to Richard fitz Nigel, royal treasurer during the reign of Henry II (r. 1154-1189):

... in the forests are the kings’ retreats and their greatest delights. For they go there to hunt, leaving their cares behind, to refresh themselves with a little rest. There, setting aside the turmoil of serious matters intrinsic to the court, they breathe fresh air freely for a little while; and that is why people who violate the forest are punished solely at the king’s will.

(Dialogue of the Exchequer, trans. E. Amt)

Although regularly depicted enthroned, you may be familiar with this famous image of King John from the early 14th century showing him out hunting on horseback in the forest. The crowned king sits on a grey horse.  His pack of hounds pursues a stag, while a number of rabbits bolt into their holes and several birds watch the hunt from the safety of the trees.

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Miniature of King John hunting from a fourteenth-century London manuscript (he probably needed the break!) (London, British Library, Cotton MS Claudius D II, f. 116r)

A comprehensive body of laws and administrative machinery protected the royal forests where kings could enjoy this recreation. And in individual forests wardens were nominated by the king and directly answerable to him. The sign of their office was a hunting horn which they carried and sounded while attending the king during a hunt.

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The Savernake Horn, an ivory hunting horn that belonged to the forest’s warden (courtesy of the British Museum)

This magnificent hunting horn, on loan from the British Museum, appears in our Magna Carta exhibition. It belonged to the Wardens of Savernake Forest in Wiltshire and was made in Italy of elephant ivory and later embellished in England with intricate silver and enamelled bands. The upper band near the mouth of the horn, thought to be the oldest, is probably 14th century, maybe from London and includes a representation of a king and bishop, each with a hand raised, while a forester blows his horn. Today, Savernake Forest is a conservation zone and a herd of 7 white park cattle are allowed to graze on the land to help maintain the woodland!

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A white park steer in Savernake Forest (from the Grazing Advice Partnership)

Herds of this rare and ancient breed of cattle were enclosed in parks across Britain following the removal of many forest areas from the protection of the Forest Laws under the Forest Charter of King Henry III (r. 1216-1272).

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The Forest Charter, 11 February 1225 (British Library Additional Charter 24712)

This example of the 1225 Forest Charter, one of three surviving originals, also appears in Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy. In 1217, Henry III issued, alongside his new version of Magna Carta, a charter to deal specifically with the royal forest. It was in a February 1218 proclamation that the name ‘Magna Carta’ is first used to distinguish the Forest Charter from the longer and more comprehensive Great Charter.

Magna Carta, as originally issued by King John in 1215, had contained several clauses (44, 47–48 and 53) to reform the application of forest law and the forests themselves, promising to disafforest the forests John had created to extend his hunting privileges and unenclose the riverbanks he had enclosed to extend his fishing privileges. During his reign, the royal forest accounted for roughly a third of the kingdom and the penalties imposed for forest offences were a major source of revenue for the king. John was addressing long standing grievances which went back to the Norman Conquest in 1066 when King William I (r. 1066-1087) designated large swathes of land as special royal forests for the first time. As the Peterborough Chronicle put it:

 

He made great protection for the game

And imposed laws for the same,

that who so slew hart or hind

Should be made blind.

 

He preserved the harts and boars

And loved the stags as much

As if he were their father.

Moreover, for the hares did he decree that they should go free.

Powerful men complained of it and poor men lamented it,

But so fierce was he that he cared not for the rancour of them all,

But they had to follow out the king’s will entirely

if they wished to live or hold their land,

Property or estate, or his favour great.

(Peterborough Chronicle/Anglo-Saxon Chronicle E, 1087; trans. D. Whitelock)

This changed royal hunting rights from an extension of what any landowner could do on their land to a specifically royal institution, established by arbitrary decrees. The royal forests continued to expand with each successive reign, and while the land enclosed did include infertile and uninhabited areas, it also covered large regions of sparsely populated land where people lived under onerous restrictions to things like the cutting down of trees for buildings or creating farmland and breaches of forest law were punished severely.

While there were some efforts to curtail the effects of forest law or the extent of the royal forests, any successes were temporary and this continued to be a contentious issue. As mentioned above, clauses for forest reform made their way into the 1215 text of Magna Carta. In 1216, the issue of ‘forests and foresters, warrens and warreners’ was important enough to be deferred for fuller considered at a later date before finally being addressed with the Forest Charter of 1217. The strenuous efforts by local communities subsequently to implement the reductions in the size of the forest promised in Henry III’s Forest Charter show how important this document was thought to be.

 

Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy, the largest and most significant exhibition ever devoted to Magna Carta, is on display at the British Library until 1 September 2015

Katherine Har

06 May 2015

Register for the Magna Carta Conference

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The British Library has been a partner in the Magna Carta Project since 2012. This AHRC-funded research project culminates this summer in a three-day conference in London in the week of the 800th anniversary of the granting of Magna Carta. The conference, which is being held at King's College London (17-18 June) and at the British Library (18-19 June), will be an opportunity to find out more about the new research and discoveries of the project. Full details of the programme and how to register are available here.

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A charter issued by King John to Robert of Braybrooke, 25 July 1208, with the Great Seal attached, currently on display in the British Library's Magna Carta exhibition

Day two of the conference includes an evening private view of the British Library's exhibition, Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy, with an introduction to the exhibition by Claire Breay.

The Magna Carta Project's website provides a new English translation of Magna Carta and expert commentaries on each clause of the charter. The project has also sought out the surviving originals of King John's charters, and charters not found on the surviving charter rolls of John's government, as well as producing John's itinerary for 1214-15 and resources on Magna Carta for use in schools.

Members of the project had the opportunity to see the four surviving 1215 Magna Carta manuscripts side-by-side on 4 February this year as part of the Magna Carta unification events at the British Library.

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Nicholas Vincent (University of East Anglia), Tessa Webber (Trinity College, Cambridge) and David Carpenter (King's College London) examining the 1215 Magna Cartas with conservator Chris Woods

As well as the 17-19 June conference, there will be a further opportunity to find out more about the discoveries of the Magna Carta Project at a British Library panel discussion on Revelations of the Magna Carta Project on 5 June.

30 April 2015

The 1934 Runnymede Pageant

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In June 1934 a major historical pageant was held on the water-meadow at Runnymede, to raise money for local hospitals and charities. Advertised as a celebration of English democracy, the pageant engaged some 5000 actors, 200 horses and 4 elephants, who over eight days performed eight historical scenes, the centrepiece being a recreation of the sealing of Magna Carta. (Apparently the elephants were withdrawn at the last minute.)

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Photograph of the crowds watching the 1934 Runnymede Pageant (Egham Museum P1168-8)

Directed by the noted theatre producer Gwen Lally (d. 1963), the spectacle was patronised by the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VIII) and was attended by dignitaries including the Lord Mayor of London, Lord Athlone (the former Governor-General of South Africa) and the Duke and Duchess of York (the future King George VI and Queen Elizabeth). The organisers produced a colourful booklet which described each scene and raised money for the Pageant's beneficiaries.

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The front cover of the Pageant booklet (Egham Museum B869)

The local community of Egham played a major part in the production, volunteering as actors, support staff and costume designers. The outfits, some of which belong to Egham Museum and are on display in the British Library’s Magna Carta exhibition, were handmade and worn by local pageanteers, performing the part of medieval barons. The yellow and blue outfit, shown here, was worn by a Mr S. Smith playing the role of the Earl of Surrey, while the maroon tunic, representing Hubert de Burgh, Earl of Kent, was worn by his wife, Mrs Smith!

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The pageant was photographed and filmed for posterity, and the surviving images juxtapose the medieval with the modern: men in trilby hats accidentally walk across the camera on some of the crucial scenes reimagining King John sealing the Charter, while still shots from backstage brilliantly show medieval female courtiers exiting from the caravan of Lady Carden, Mistress of the Robes, while boy scouts look on in the background. 

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Behind the scenes at the Pageant (note the young girls dressed as butterflies!) (Egham Museum P1311)

Such historical pageants were not uncommon on Runnymede plain. This was one of the largest, but they were very much part of a historical movement that flourished in the early 20th century, teaching history through re-enactment. The purpose of these popular performances was to invent and reinforce a sense of national heritage and identity. However, as the photographs suggest, they were not necessarily accurate recreations of the historical events they purported to represent!

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 Magna Carta is presented to King John, in 1934! (Egham Museum P80A)

We are extremely grateful to the Trustees of Egham Museum for so kindly lending their items to the British Library for the exhibition, Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy, where they will be on display until 1 September 2015.

Photo

Alexander Lock

   

25 April 2015

King John's Last Will and Testament

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Did you know that the oldest surviving original English royal will is on display in our Magna Carta exhibition? And that it was written on behalf of King John in October 1216? Here, Katie Har -- who was part of the team which worked on the exhibition -- examines its context.

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The will of King John (Worcester Cathedral Muniments B1693), on display at the British Library until 1 September 2015

In the autumn of 1216, with the kingdom still embroiled in civil war, King John fell ill, probably of dysentery, while in the prosperous -- and, more importantly, friendly to the Crown -- port and town of Lynn. His illness steadily worsened as he made his way back through Lincolnshire, making it as far as the bishop of Lincoln’s castle at Newark just over the border in Nottinghamshire. Then, on the 18th or 19th of October (depending on which sources are to be believed) John eventually succumbed to his illness.

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Newark Castle, Nottinghamshire by the River Trent

In the last days before his death John had his will drawn up. In it he specifically stated that the gravity of his illness prevented him from drawing up an itemized will, so instead he named 13 men to oversee the fulfilment of his wishes. Here is the text of his will, in English translation (taken from S. Church, English Historical Review, 125 (2010)):

I, John, by the grace of God king of England, lord of Ireland, duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, count of Anjou, hindered by grave infirmity and not being able at this time of my infirmity to itemize all my things so that I may make a testament, commit the arbitration and administration of my testament to the trust and to the legitimate administration of my faithful men whose names are written below, without whose counsel, even in good health, I would have by no means arranged my testament in their presence, so that what they will faithfully arrange and determine concerning my things as much as in making satisfaction to God and to holy Church for damages and injuries done to them as in sending succour to the land of Jerusalem and in providing support to my sons towards obtaining and defending their inheritance and in making reward to those who have served us faithfully and in making distribution to the poor and to religious houses for the salvation of my soul, be right and sure. I ask, furthermore, that whoever shall give them counsel and assistance in the arranging of my testament shall receive the grace and favour of God. Whoever shall infringe their arrangement and disposition, may he incur the curse and indignation of almighty God and the blessed Mary and all the saints.

In the first place, therefore, I desire that my body be buried in the church of St Mary and St Wulfstan at Worcester. I appoint, moreover, the following arbiters and administrators: the lord Guala, by the grace of God, cardinal-priest of the title of St Martin and legate of the apostolic see; the lord Peter bishop of Winchester; the lord Richard bishop of Chichester; the lord Silvester bishop of Worcester; Brother Aimery de St-Maur; William Marshal earl of Pembroke; Ranulf earl of Chester; William earl Ferrers; William Brewer; Walter de Lacy and John of Monmouth; Savaric de Mauléon; Falkes de Bréauté.

If concessions are made for the practice of sealing rather than signing documents, this is a valid will as we would know it today. It fulfils all the criteria: that the person writing the will must be 18 or over; that they make it voluntarily; be of sound mind; make it in writing; sign it in the presence of two witnesses who are both over 18; and have it signed by their two witnesses, in their presence. Perhaps, following the use of the Latin word ‘testamentum’ in this document, we should refer to it as a ‘testament’ rather than a ‘will’. Our modern use of the word ‘will’ links back to the Old English phrase ‘ic wille’ (I desire), used in the Anglo-Saxon period in documents directing the disposal of one’s property after one’s death.

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The alleged poisoning of King John by a monk of Swineshead Abbey (London, British Library, Cotton MS Vitellius A XIII, f. 5v)

While there is an entire corpus of these sorts of documents going back to the Anglo-Saxon period, King John’s will is the earliest English royal will to survive in its original form. We have later copies of wills of two Anglo-Saxon kings, Alfred (d. 899) and Eadred (d. 955), as well as multiple copies of the will of John’s father, Henry II (d. 1189). There are references to, but no texts for, those of his brother Richard (d. 1199) or his mother Eleanor of Aquitaine (d. 1204). There was no regular practice of enrolling or necessarily carefully preserving royal wills in the governmental records, either before John's reign or subsequently under his son Henry III, so it’s perhaps a fluke that this document has managed to survive to this day.  

The document itself is small, around the size of a postcard. From the fold at the bottom and the slits found there, the royal seal clearly once hung from the bottom of the will, likely accompanied by the seals of the 8 appointed executors present at the drawing up of the will. With only half of the kingdom under royal control at his death, one of the responsibilities of the men chosen to execute John’s last will lay ‘in providing support to [his] sons towards obtaining and defending their inheritance’. Among the 13 overseers we find named Guala (d. 1227), the papal legate, and the future regent, William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke (d. 1219). Both men played a major part in securing the throne for Henry III, including being instrumental in the 1216 reissue of Magna Carta.

King John's will has been very generously loaned by Worcester Cathedral to the British Library's major exhibition, Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy. John was buried at Worcester in accordance with the terms of his will. Next year Worcester Cathedral will be commemorating the 800th anniversary of King John's death, and in 2015-16 they are also hosting a series of special events relating to King John and Magna Carta.

 

Katherine Har

Magna Carta: Law Liberty, Legacy is on at the British Library until 1 September 2015. There is also a comprehensive events programme and a website dedicated to Magna Carta.