Magna Carta, 1215

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English

John, by the grace of God King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine and Count of Anjou, to his archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, barons, justices, foresters, sheriffs, stewards, servants and to all his officials and loyal subjects, greeting.

So begins (in English translation) the text of Magna Carta, as agreed by King John and the barons of England on 15 June 1215. This is one of the four surviving copies of Magna Carta dispatched within the month to various bishops, and possibly sheriffs, throughout the kingdom. The document itself starts with a large capital ‘I’ (for ‘Iohannes’) in the upper left-hand corner. It is written on sheepskin parchment, in a documentary script, by a single scribe. The Latin text is in continuous prose — the division into separate clauses is a later phenomenon — but there are additions in the lower margin, denoting passages which were either omitted in error by the scribe or represent last minute revisions. Of the surviving 1215 copies, this document alone is written in landscape format; King John’s seal is no longer attached, but a central slit at the foot apparently shows where the seal-tag was located.

The medieval provenance of this copy of Magna Carta is unknown, but it has a curious later history. According to one account, it was discovered in a London tailor’s shop, before being presented to Sir Robert Cotton (d. 1631) by Humphrey Wymes of the Inner Temple on 1 January 1628/9. Cotton’s manuscripts later entered the British Museum (now the British Library), and this Magna Carta has been on regular display since 1857.

Although very large for an early 13th-century royal charter, its appearance is otherwise unprepossessing. King John could surely never have anticipated the enduring international legacy of Magna Carta, which closes with the words:

Both we and the barons have sworn that all this shall be observed in good faith and without deceit … Given by our hand in the meadow that is called Runnymede, between Windsor and Staines, on the fifteenth day of June in the seventeenth year of our reign.

Transcript

Transcript

English

English translation

Clauses marked (+) are still valid under the charter of 1225, but with a few minor amendments. Clauses marked (*) were omitted in all later reissues of the charter. In the charter itself the clauses are not numbered, and the text reads continuously. The translation sets out to convey the sense rather than the precise wording of the original Latin.

JOHN, by the grace of God King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and Count of Anjou, to his archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, barons, justices, foresters, sheriffs, stewards, servants, and to all his officials and loyal subjects, Greeting.

KNOW THAT BEFORE GOD, for the health of our soul and those of our ancestors and heirs, to the honour of God, the exaltation of the holy Church, and the better ordering of our kingdom, at the advice of our reverend fathers Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury, primate of all England, and cardinal of the holy Roman Church, Henry archbishop of Dublin, William bishop of London, Peter bishop of Winchester, Jocelin bishop of Bath and Glastonbury, Hugh bishop of Lincoln, Walter Bishop of Worcester, William bishop of Coventry, Benedict bishop of Rochester, Master Pandulf subdeacon and member of the papal household, Brother Aymeric master of the knighthood of the Temple in England, William Marshal earl of Pembroke, William earl of Salisbury, William earl of Warren, William earl of Arundel, Alan de Galloway constable of Scotland, Warin Fitz Gerald, Peter Fitz Herbert, Hubert de Burgh seneschal of Poitou, Hugh de Neville, Matthew Fitz Herbert, Thomas Basset, Alan Basset, Philip Daubeny, Robert de Roppeley, John Marshal, John Fitz Hugh, and other loyal subjects:

+ (1) FIRST, THAT WE HAVE GRANTED TO GOD, and by this present charter have confirmed for us and our heirs in perpetuity, that the English Church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished, and its liberties unimpaired. That we wish this so to be observed, appears from the fact that of our own free will, before the outbreak of the present dispute between us and our barons, we granted and confirmed by charter the freedom of the Church's elections - a right reckoned to be of the greatest necessity and importance to it - and caused this to be confirmed by Pope Innocent III. This freedom we shall observe ourselves, and desire to be observed in good faith by our heirs in perpetuity.

TO ALL FREE MEN OF OUR KINGDOM we have also granted, for us and our heirs for ever, all the liberties written out below, to have and to keep for them and their heirs, of us and our heirs:

(2) If any earl, baron, or other person that holds lands directly of the Crown, for military service, shall die, and at his death his heir shall be of full age and owe a 'relief', the heir shall have his inheritance on payment of the ancient scale of 'relief'. That is to say, the heir or heirs of an earl shall pay £100 for the entire earl's barony, the heir or heirs of a knight 100s. at most for the entire knight's 'fee', and any man that owes less shall pay less, in accordance with the ancient usage of 'fees'

(3) But if the heir of such a person is under age and a ward, when he comes of age he shall have his inheritance without 'relief' or fine.

(4) The guardian of the land of an heir who is under age shall take from it only reasonable revenues, customary dues, and feudal services. He shall do this without destruction or damage to men or property. If we have given the guardianship of the land to a sheriff, or to any person answerable to us for the revenues, and he commits destruction or damage, we will exact compensation from him, and the land shall be entrusted to two worthy and prudent men of the same 'fee', who shall be answerable to us for the revenues, or to the person to whom we have assigned them. If we have given or sold to anyone the guardianship of such land, and he causes destruction or damage, he shall lose the guardianship of it, and it shall be handed over to two worthy and prudent men of the same 'fee', who shall be similarly answerable to us.

(5) For so long as a guardian has guardianship of such land, he shall maintain the houses, parks, fish preserves, ponds, mills, and everything else pertaining to it, from the revenues of the land itself. When the heir comes of age, he shall restore the whole land to him, stocked with plough teams and such implements of husbandry as the season demands and the revenues from the land can reasonably bear.

(6) Heirs may be given in marriage, but not to someone of lower social standing. Before a marriage takes place, it shall be made known to the heir's next-of-kin.

(7) At her husband's death, a widow may have her marriage portion and inheritance at once and without trouble. She shall pay nothing for her dower, marriage portion, or any inheritance that she and her husband held jointly on the day of his death. She may remain in her husband's house for forty days after his death, and within this period her dower shall be assigned to her.

(8) No widow shall be compelled to marry, so long as she wishes to remain without a husband. But she must give security that she will not marry without royal consent, if she holds her lands of the Crown, or without the consent of whatever other lord she may hold them of.

(9) Neither we nor our officials will seize any land or rent in payment of a debt, so long as the debtor has movable goods sufficient to discharge the debt. A debtor's sureties shall not be distrained upon so long as the debtor himself can discharge his debt. If, for lack of means, the debtor is unable to discharge his debt, his sureties shall be answerable for it. If they so desire, they may have the debtor's lands and rents until they have received satisfaction for the debt that they paid for him, unless the debtor can show that he has settled his obligations to them.

* (10) If anyone who has borrowed a sum of money from Jews dies before the debt has been repaid, his heir shall pay no interest on the debt for so long as he remains under age, irrespective of whom he holds his lands. If such a debt falls into the hands of the Crown, it will take nothing except the principal sum specified in the bond.

* (11) If a man dies owing money to Jews, his wife may have her dower and pay nothing towards the debt from it. If he leaves children that are under age, their needs may also be provided for on a scale appropriate to the size of his holding of lands. The debt is to be paid out of the residue, reserving the service due to his feudal lords. Debts owed to persons other than Jews are to be dealt with similarly.

* (12) No 'scutage' or 'aid' may be levied in our kingdom without its general consent, unless it is for the ransom of our person, to make our eldest son a knight, and (once) to marry our eldest daughter. For these purposes only a reasonable 'aid' may be levied. 'Aids' from the city of London are to be treated similarly.

+ (13) The city of London shall enjoy all its ancient liberties and free customs, both by land and by water. We also will and grant that all other cities, boroughs, towns, and ports shall enjoy all their liberties and free customs.

* (14) To obtain the general consent of the realm for the assessment of an 'aid' - except in the three cases specified above - or a 'scutage', we will cause the archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, and greater barons to be summoned individually by letter. To those who hold lands directly of us we will cause a general summons to be issued, through the sheriffs and other officials, to come together on a fixed day (of which at least forty days notice shall be given) and at a fixed place. In all letters of summons, the cause of the summons will be stated. When a summons has been issued, the business appointed for the day shall go forward in accordance with the resolution of those present, even if not all those who were summoned have appeared.

* (15) In future we will allow no one to levy an 'aid' from his free men, except to ransom his person, to make his eldest son a knight, and (once) to marry his eldest daughter. For these purposes only a reasonable 'aid' may be levied.

(16) No man shall be forced to perform more service for a knight's 'fee', or other free holding of land, than is due from it.

(17) Ordinary lawsuits shall not follow the royal court around, but shall be held in a fixed place.

(18) Inquests of novel disseisin, mort d'ancestor, and darrein presentment shall be taken only in their proper county court. We ourselves, or in our absence abroad our chief justice, will send two justices to each county four times a year, and these justices, with four knights of the county elected by the county itself, shall hold the assizes in the county court, on the day and in the place where the court meets.

(19) If any assizes cannot be taken on the day of the county court, as many knights and freeholders shall afterwards remain behind, of those who have attended the court, as will suffice for the administration of justice, having regard to the volume of business to be done.

(20) For a trivial offence, a free man shall be fined only in proportion to the degree of his offence, and for a serious offence correspondingly, but not so heavily as to deprive him of his livelihood. In the same way, a merchant shall be spared his merchandise, and a villein the implements of his husbandry, if they fall upon the mercy of a royal court. None of these fines shall be imposed except by the assessment on oath of reputable men of the neighbourhood.

(21) Earls and barons shall be fined only by their equals, and in proportion to the gravity of their offence.

(22) A fine imposed upon the lay property of a clerk in holy orders shall be assessed upon the same principles, without reference to the value of his ecclesiastical benefice.

(23) No town or person shall be forced to build bridges over rivers except those with an ancient obligation to do so.

(24) No sheriff, constable, coroners, or other royal officials are to hold lawsuits that should be held by the royal justices.

* (25) Every county, hundred, wapentake, and riding shall remain at its ancient rent, without increase, except the royal demesne manors.

(26) If at the death of a man who holds a lay 'fee' of the Crown, a sheriff or royal official produces royal letters patent of summons for a debt due to the Crown, it shall be lawful for them to seize and list movable goods found in the lay 'fee' of the dead man to the value of the debt, as assessed by worthy men. Nothing shall be removed until the whole debt is paid, when the residue shall be given over to the executors to carry out the dead man’s will. If no debt is due to the Crown, all the movable goods shall be regarded as the property of the dead man, except the reasonable shares of his wife and children.

* (27) If a free man dies intestate, his movable goods are to be distributed by his next-of-kin and friends, under the supervision of the Church. The rights of his debtors are to be preserved.

(28) No constable or other royal official shall take corn or other movable goods from any man without immediate payment, unless the seller voluntarily offers postponement of this.

(29) No constable may compel a knight to pay money for castle-guard if the knight is willing to undertake the guard in person, or with reasonable excuse to supply some other fit man to do it. A knight taken or sent on military service shall be excused from castle-guard for the period of this service.

(30) No sheriff, royal official, or other person shall take horses or carts for transport from any free man, without his consent.

(31) Neither we nor any royal official will take wood for our castle, or for any other purpose, without the consent of the owner.

(32) We will not keep the lands of people convicted of felony in our hand for longer than a year and a day, after which they shall be returned to the lords of the 'fees' concerned.

(33) All fish-weirs shall be removed from the Thames, the Medway, and throughout the whole of England, except on the sea coast.

(34) The writ called precipe shall not in future be issued to anyone in respect of any holding of land, if a free man could thereby be deprived of the right of trial in his own lord's court.

(35) There shall be standard measures of wine, ale, and corn (the London quarter), throughout the kingdom. There shall also be a standard width of dyed cloth, russet, and haberject, namely two ells within the selvedges. Weights are to be standardised similarly.

(36) In future nothing shall be paid or accepted for the issue of a writ of inquisition of life or limbs. It shall be given gratis, and not refused.

(37) If a man holds land of the Crown by 'fee-farm', 'socage', or 'burgage', and also holds land of someone else for knight's service, we will not have guardianship of his heir, nor of the land that belongs to the other person's 'fee', by virtue of the 'fee-farm', 'socage', or 'burgage', unless the 'fee-farm' owes knight's service. We will not have the guardianship of a man's heir, or of land that he holds of someone else, by reason of any small property that he may hold of the Crown for a service of knives, arrows, or the like.

(38) In future no official shall place a man on trial upon his own unsupported statement, without producing credible witnesses to the truth of it.

+ (39) No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land.

+ (40) To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice.

(41) All merchants may enter or leave England unharmed and without fear, and may stay or travel within it, by land or water, for purposes of trade, free from all illegal exactions, in accordance with ancient and lawful customs. This, however, does not apply in time of war to merchants from a country that is at war with us. Any such merchants found in our country at the outbreak of war shall be detained without injury to their persons or property, until we or our chief justice have discovered how our own merchants are being treated in the country at war with us. If our own merchants are safe they shall be safe too.

* (42) In future it shall be lawful for any man to leave and return to our kingdom unharmed and without fear, by land or water, preserving his allegiance to us, except in time of war, for some short period, for the common benefit of the realm. People that have been imprisoned or outlawed in accordance with the law of the land, people from a country that is at war with us, and merchants - who shall be dealt with as stated above - are excepted from this provision.

(43) If a man holds lands of any 'escheat' such as the 'honour' of Wallingford, Nottingham, Boulogne, Lancaster, or of other 'escheats' in our hand that are baronies, at his death his heir shall give us only the 'relief' and service that he would have made to the baron, had the barony been in the baron's hand. We will hold the 'escheat' in the same manner as the baron held it.

(44) People who live outside the forest need not in future appear before the royal justices of the forest in answer to general summonses, unless they are actually involved in proceedings or are sureties for someone who has been seized for a forest offence.

* (45) We will appoint as justices, constables, sheriffs, or other officials, only men that know the law of the realm and are minded to keep it well.

(46) All barons who have founded abbeys, and have charters of English kings or ancient tenure as evidence of this, may have guardianship of them when there is no abbot, as is their due.

(47) All forests that have been created in our reign shall at once be disafforested. River-banks that have been enclosed in our reign shall be treated similarly.

*(48) All evil customs relating to forests and warrens, foresters, warreners, sheriffs and their servants, or river-banks and their wardens, are at once to be investigated in every county by twelve sworn knights of the county, and within forty days of their enquiry the evil customs are to be abolished completely and irrevocably. But we, or our chief justice if we are not in England, are first to be informed.

* (49) We will at once return all hostages and charters delivered up to us by Englishmen as security for peace or for loyal service.

* (50) We will remove completely from their offices the kinsmen of Gerard de Athée, and in future they shall hold no offices in England. The people in question are Engelard de Cigogné, Peter, Guy, and Andrew de Chanceaux, Guy de Cigogné, Geoffrey de Martigny and his brothers, Philip Marc and his brothers, with Geoffrey his nephew, and all their followers.

* (51) As soon as peace is restored, we will remove from the kingdom all the foreign knights, bowmen, their attendants, and the mercenaries that have come to it, to its harm, with horses and arms.

* (52) To any man whom we have deprived or dispossessed of lands, castles, liberties, or rights, without the lawful judgement of his equals, we will at once restore these. In cases of dispute the matter shall be resolved by the judgement of the twenty-five barons referred to below in the clause for securing the peace. In cases, however, where a man was deprived or dispossessed of something without the lawful judgement of his equals by our father King Henry or our brother King Richard, and it remains in our hands or is held by others under our warranty, we shall have respite for the period commonly allowed to Crusaders, unless a lawsuit had been begun, or an enquiry had been made at our order, before we took the Cross as a Crusader. On our return from the Crusade, or if we abandon it, we will at once render justice in full.

* (53) We shall have similar respite in rendering justice in connexion with forests that are to be disafforested, or to remain forests, when these were first afforested by our father Henry or our brother Richard; with the guardianship of lands in another person's 'fee', when we have hitherto had this by virtue of a 'fee' held of us for knight's service by a third party; and with abbeys founded in another person's 'fee', in which the lord of the 'fee' claims to own a right. On our return from the Crusade, or if we abandon it, we will at once do full justice to complaints about these matters.

(54) No one shall be arrested or imprisoned on the appeal of a woman for the death of any person except her husband.

* (55) All fines that have been given to us unjustly and against the law of the land, and all fines that we have exacted unjustly, shall be entirely remitted or the matter decided by a majority judgement of the twenty-five barons referred to below in the clause for securing the peace together with Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury, if he can be present, and such others as he wishes to bring with him. If the archbishop cannot be present, proceedings shall continue without him, provided that if any of the twenty-five barons has been involved in a similar suit himself, his judgement shall be set aside, and someone else chosen and sworn in his place, as a substitute for the single occasion, by the rest of the twenty-five.

(56) If we have deprived or dispossessed any Welshmen of lands, liberties, or anything else in England or in Wales, without the lawful judgement of their equals, these are at once to be returned to them. A dispute on this point shall be determined in the Marches by the judgement of equals. English law shall apply to holdings of land in England, Welsh law to those in Wales, and the law of the Marches to those in the Marches. The Welsh shall treat us and ours in the same way.

* (57) In cases where a Welshman was deprived or dispossessed of anything, without the lawful judgement of his equals, by our father King Henry or our brother King Richard, and it remains in our hands or is held by others under our warranty, we shall have respite for the period commonly allowed to Crusaders, unless a lawsuit had been begun, or an enquiry had been made at our order, before we took the Cross as a Crusader. But on our return from the Crusade, or if we abandon it, we will at once do full justice according to the laws of Wales and the said regions.

* (58) We will at once return the son of Llywelyn, all Welsh hostages, and the charters delivered to us as security for the peace.

* (59) With regard to the return of the sisters and hostages of Alexander, king of Scotland, his liberties and his rights, we will treat him in the same way as our other barons of England, unless it appears from the charters that we hold from his father William, formerly king of Scotland, that he should be treated otherwise. This matter shall be resolved by the judgement of his equals in our court.

(60) All these customs and liberties that we have granted shall be observed in our kingdom in so far as concerns our own relations with our subjects. Let all men of our kingdom, whether clergy or laymen, observe them similarly in their relations with their own men.

* (61) SINCE WE HAVE GRANTED ALL THESE THINGS for God, for the better ordering of our kingdom, and to allay the discord that has arisen between us and our barons, and since we desire that they shall be enjoyed in their entirety, with lasting strength, for ever, we give and grant to the barons the following security:
The barons shall elect twenty-five of their number to keep, and cause to be observed with all their might, the peace and liberties granted and confirmed to them by this charter.

If we, our chief justice, our officials, or any of our servants offend in any respect against any man, or transgress any of the articles of the peace or of this security, and the offence is made known to four of the said twenty-five barons, they shall come to us - or in our absence from the kingdom to the chief justice - to declare it and claim immediate redress. If we, or in our absence abroad the chief justice, make no redress within forty days, reckoning from the day on which the offence was declared to us or to him, the four barons shall refer the matter to the rest of the twenty-five barons, who may distrain upon and assail us in every way possible, with the support of the whole community of the land, by seizing our castles, lands, possessions, or anything else saving only our own person and those of the queen and our children, until they have secured such redress as they have determined upon. Having secured the redress, they may then resume their normal obedience to us.

Any man who so desires may take an oath to obey the commands of the twenty-five barons for the achievement of these ends, and to join with them in assailing us to the utmost of his power. We give public and free permission to take this oath to any man who so desires, and at no time will we prohibit any man from taking it. Indeed, we will compel any of our subjects who are unwilling to take it to swear it at our command.

If one of the twenty-five barons dies or leaves the country, or is prevented in any other way from discharging his duties, the rest of them shall choose another baron in his place, at their discretion, who shall be duly sworn in as they were.

In the event of disagreement among the twenty-five barons on any matter referred to them for decision, the verdict of the majority present shall have the same validity as a unanimous verdict of the whole twenty-five, whether these were all present or some of those summoned were unwilling or unable to appear.
The twenty-five barons shall swear to obey all the above articles faithfully, and shall cause them to be obeyed by others to the best of their power.
We will not seek to procure from anyone, either by our own efforts or those of a third party, anything by which any part of these concessions or liberties might be revoked or diminished. Should such a thing be procured, it shall be null and void and we will at no time make use of it, either ourselves or through a third party.

* (62) We have remitted and pardoned fully to all men any ill-will, hurt, or grudges that have arisen between us and our subjects, whether clergy or laymen, since the beginning of the dispute. We have in addition remitted fully, and for our own part have also pardoned, to all clergy and laymen any offences committed as a result of the said dispute between Easter in the sixteenth year of our reign (i.e. 1215) and the restoration of peace.

In addition we have caused letters patent to be made for the barons, bearing witness to this security and to the concessions set out above, over the seals of Stephen archbishop of Canterbury, Henry archbishop of Dublin, the other bishops named above, and Master Pandulf.

* (63) IT IS ACCORDINGLY OUR WISH AND COMMAND that the English Church shall be free, and that men in our kingdom shall have and keep all these liberties, rights, and concessions, well and peaceably in their fullness and entirety for them and their heirs, of us and our heirs, in all things and all places for ever.
Both we and the barons have sworn that all this shall be observed in good faith and without deceit. Witness the above-mentioned people and many others.
Given by our hand in the meadow that is called Runnymede, between Windsor and Staines, on the fifteenth day of June in the seventeenth year of our reign (i.e. 1215: the new regnal year began on 28 May).

 

Latin transcription

[Prologue] Johannes Dei gratia rex Anglie, dominus Hibernie, dux Normannie, Aquitannie, et comes Andegavie, archiepiscopis, episcopis, abbatibus, comitibus, baronibus, justiciariis, forestariis, vicecomitibus, preposicis, 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 exaltationem 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, Hugoni Lincolniensis, Walteri Wygornensis, Willelmi Coventrensis, et Benedicti Roffensis episcoporum; magistri Pandulfi, domini pape subdiaconi et familiaris, fratris Aymerici magistri militie Templi in Anglia; et nobilium virorum Willelmi Mariscalli comitis Penbrocie, Willelmi, comitis Saresberie, 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 filii Hereberti, Thome Basset, Alani Basset, Philippo de Albiniaco, Roberti de Roppeli, Johannis Mariscalli, Johannis filii Hugonis et aliorum fidelium nostrorum:

[1] In primis concessisse Deo et hac presenti carta nostra confirmasse pro nobis et heredibus nostris in perpetuum quod Anglicana ecclesia libera sit et habeat iura sua integra et libertates suas illesas et ita volumus observari; quod apparet ex eo quod lib[er]tatem electionum que maxima et magis necessaria reputatur ecclesie Anglicanie 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] 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 vel 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.

[3] Si autem heres alicuius talium fuerit infra etatem et fuerit in custodia, cum ad ecatem pervenerit, habeat hereditatem suam sine relevio et sine fine.

[4] Custos terre huiusmodi heredis qui infra etatem fuerit non capiat de terra heredis nisi racionabiles exicus et racionabiles consuetudines et racionabilia servicia, et hoc sine destructione et vasto hominum vel rerum; Et si nos commiserimus custodiam alicuius talis terre vicecomiti vel alicui alii qui de exitibus illius nobis respondere debeat, et ille destructionem de custodia fecerit vel 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 alicuius 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.

[5] Custos autem quamdiu custodiam terre habuerit, sustentet domos, parcos, vivaria, stagna, molendina, et cetera at terram illam pertinentia, de exitibus terre eiusdem et reddat heredi cum ad plenam etatem pervenerit, terram suam totam instauratam de carrucis et waynagiis secumdum quod tempus waynagii exiget et exicus terre racionabiliter poterunt sustinere.

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

[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 sui per quadraginta dies post mortem ipsius, infra quos assignetur ei dos sua.

[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.

[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.

[10] Si quis mutuo ceperit aliquid a iudeis 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.

[11] Et si quis moriatur, et debitum debeat iudeis, uxor eius 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 quam iudeis.

[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.

[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 villae et portus habeant omnes libertates et liberas consuetudines suas.

[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 maiores 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 negotium ad diem assignatum procedat secundum consilium illorum qui presences fuerint quamvis non omnes summoniti venerint.

[15] Nos non concedemus decetero 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.

[16] Nullus distringatur ad faciendum maius servicium de feodo militis nec de alio libero tenemento, quam inde debetur.

[17] Communia placita non sequantur curiam nostram set teneantur in aliquo loco certo.

[18] Recogniciones de nova disseisina de morte ancestoris et de ultima presentacione non capiantur nisi in suis comitatibus et hoc modo. Nos vel si extra Regnum fuerimus capitalis Iusticiarius noster mittemus duos Iusticiarios per unumquemque comitatum per quatuor vices in anno qui cum quatuor militibus cuiuslibet comitatus electis per comitatum, capiant in comitatu et in die et loco comitatus assisas praedictas,

[19] et si in die comitatus assise praedicte capi non possint, tot milites et libere tenentes remaneant de illis qui interfuerint comitatui die illo per quos possint iudicia sufficienter fieri, secundum quod negocium fuerit maius vel minus.

[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.

[21] Comites et Barones non amercientur nisi per pares suos et non nisi secundum modum delicti.

[22] Nullus clericus amercietur de laico tenemento suo, nisi secundum modum aliorum predictorum, et non secundum quantitatem beneficii sui ecclesiastici.

[23] Nec villa nec homo distringatur facere pontes ad riparias, nisi qui ab antiquo et de iure facere debent.

[24] Nullus vicecomes, constabularius, coronatores, vel alii ballivi nostri, teneant placita corone nostre.

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

[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 legalium hominum. Ita tamen quod nichil inde amoveatur donec persolvatur nobis debitum quod clarum fuerit et residuum relinquatur executoribus ad faciendum testamentum defuncti. Et si nihil nobis debeatur ab ipso, omnia catalla cedant defuncto salvis uxoris ipsius et pueris racionabilibus parcibus suis.

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

[28] Nullus constabularius vel alius ballivus noster capiat blada vel alia catalla alicuius nisi statim inde reddat denarios aut respectum inde habere possit de voluntate venditoris.

[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.

[30] Nullus vicecomes vel ballivus noster vel aliquis alius capiat equos vel caretas alicuius liberi hominis pro cariagio faciendo nisi de voluntate ipsius liberi hominis.

[31] Nec nos nec ballivi nostri capiemus alienum boscum ad castra vel alia agenda nostra nisi per voluntatem ipsius cuius boscus ille fuerit.

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

[33] Omnes kidelli de cetero deponantur penitus de Thamisia et de Medewaye et per totam Angliam nisi per costeram maris.

[34] Breve quod vocatur Precipe de cetero non fiat alicui de aliquo tenemento unde liber homo amittere possit curiam suam.

[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.

[36] Nichil detur vel capiatur de cetero pro brevi Inquisicionis de vita vel menbris set gratis concedatur et non negetur.

[37] Si aliquis teneat de nobis per feodifirmam vel per sokagium vel per burgagium et de alio terram teneat per servitium 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 alicuius quam tenet de alio per servicium militare occasione alicuius parve sergenterie quam tenet de nobis per servicium reddendi nobis cultellos vel sagittas vel huiusmodi.

[38] Nullus ballivus ponat de cetero aliquem ad legem simplici loquela sua sine testibus fidelibus ad hoc inductis.

[39] Nullus liber homo capiatur vel imprisonetur aut disseisiatur aut utlagetur aut exuletur aut aliquo modo destruatur, nec super eum ibimus nec super eum mittemus nisi per legale iudicium parium suorum vel per legem terre.

[40] Nulli vendemus, nulli negabimus aut differemus rectum aut iusticiam.

[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 iusticiario 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.

[42] Liceat unicuique de cetero 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 praedictum est.

[43] Si quis tenuerit de aliqua eskaeta sicut de Honore Walingefordie, Notingeham, Bolonie, Lancastrie, vel de aliis eskaetis que sunt in manu nostra et sunt baronie et obierit heres eius 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.

[44] Homines qui manent extra forestam non veniant de cetero coram Iusticiariis nostris de foresta per communes summonitiones, nisi sint in placito vel plegii alicuius vel aliquorum qui attachiati sint pro foresta.

[45] Nos non faciemus Justiciarios, constabularios, vicecomites, vel ballivos, nisi de talibus qui sciant legem Regni et eam bene velint observare.

[46] Omnes barones qui fundaverunt Abbatias, unde habent cartas Regum Anglie, vel antiquam tenuram, habeant earum custodiam cum vacaverint, sicut habere debent.

[47] Omnes forestae que afforestate sunt tempore nostro, statim deafforestentur. Et ita fiat de ripariis que per nos tempore nostro posite sunt in defenso.

[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 iuratos de eodem comitatu qui debent eligi per probos homines eiusdem comitatus, et infra quadraginta dies post inquisitionem factam, penitus, ita quod numquam revocentur, deleantur per eosdem, ita quod nos hoc sciamus prius, vel justiciarius noster, si in Anglia non fuerimus.

[49] Omnes obsides et cartas statim reddemus que liberatae fuerunt nobis ab Anglicis vel in securitatem pacis vel fidelis servitii.

[50] Nos amovebimus penitus de balliis parentes Gerardi Athyes quod de cetero nullam habeant balliam in Anglia. Engelardum de Cygony, Petrum et Gionem et Andream de Cancellis, Gionem de Cygony, Galfridum de Martinny et fratres eius, Philippum Marcum et fratres eius et Galfridum nepotem eius et totam sequelam eorumdem.

[51] Et statim post pacis reformacionem amovebimus de regno omnes alienigenas milites balistarios, servientes stipendarios qui venerint cum equis et armis ad nocumentum Regni.

[52] Si quis fuerit disseisitus vel elongatus per nos sine legali iudicio parium suorum de terris, castellis libertatibus vel jure suo statim ea ei restituemus; et si concencio super hoc orta fuerit, tunc inde fiat per iudicium viginti quinque baronum de quibus fit mencio inferius in securitate pacis. De omnibus autem illis de quibus aliquis disseisitus fuerit vel elongatus sine legali iudicio 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 pleman iusticiam exhibebimus.

[53] Eundem autem respectum habebimus, et eodem modo, de justicia exhibenda de forestis deafforestandis vel remansuris forestis, quas Henricus pater noster vel Ricardus frater noster afforestaverunt, et de custodiis terrarum que sunt de alieno feodo, cuiusmodi 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 ius habere; et cum redierimus, vel si remanserimus a peregrinacione nostra, super hiis conquerentibus plenam iusticiam statim exhibebimus.

[54] Nullus capiatur nec imprisonetur propter appellum femine de morte alcerius quam viri sui.

[55] Omnes fines qui iniuste et contra legem terre facti sunt nobiscum et omnia amerciamenta facta iniuste et contra legem terre, omnino condonentur, vel fiat inde per iudicium viginti quinque baronum de quibus fit mencio inferius in securitate pacis, vel per iudicium maioris partis eorumdem, una cum predicto Stephano Cantuariensi Archiepiscop, si interesse poterit et aliis quos secum ad hoc vocare voluerit: Et si interesse non poterit, nihilominus procedat negotium sine eo, Ita quod, si aliquis vel aliqui de predictis viginti quinque baronibus fuerint in simili querela, amoveantur quantum ad hoc iudicium, et alii loco eorum per residuos de eisdem viginti quinque tantum ad hoc faciendum electi et iurati substituantur.

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

[57] De omnibus autem illis de quibus aliquis Walensium disseisitus fuerit vel elongatus sine legali iudicio 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 cruce signatorum, illis exceptis de quibus placitum motum fuit vel inquisicio facta per preceptum nostrum ante suscepcionem crucis nostre: Cum autem redierimus, vel si forte remanserimus a peregrinatione nostra, statim eis inde plenam iusticiam exhibebimus, secundum leges Walensium et partes praedictas.

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

[59] Nos faciemus Alexandro regi Scottorum de sororibus suis, et obsidibus reddendis, et libertatibus suis, et iure suo, secundum formam in qua faciemus aliis baronibus nostris Anglie, nisi aliter esse debeat per cart{as} quas habemus de Willelmo patre ipsius, quondam rege Scottorum; et hoc er{it per} judicium parium suorum in curia nostra.

[60] Omnes autem istas consuetudines predictas et libertates quas nos concessimus in regno nostro tenendas quantum ad nos pertinet erga nostros, omnes de regno nostro, tam clerici quam laici, observent quantum ad se pertinent erga suos.

[61] Cum autem pro Deo et ad emendacionem Regni nostri et ad melius sopiendum discordiam inter nos et barones nostros ortam hec omnia predicta concesserimus, volentes ea integra et firma stabilitate in perpetuum gaudere, {fa}cimus et concedimus eis securitatem subscriptam; videlicet quod barones eligant viginti quinque barones de regno quos voluerint, qui debeant pro totis viribus suis observare, tenere, et facere observari, pacem et libertates quas eis concessimus et hac presenti carta nostram confirmavimus, Ita scilicet quod si nos vel Iusticiarius noster vel ballivi nostri vel aliquis de ministris nostris in aliquo erga aliquem deliquerimus vel aliquem articulorum pacis aut securitatis transgressi fuerimus et delictum ostensum fuerit quatuor baronibus de predictis viginti quinque baronibus illi quatuor barones accedant ad nos vel ad Iusticiarium nostrum, si fuerimus extra regnum, proponentes nobis excessum: petent ut excessum illum sine dilacione faciamus emendari. Et si nos excessum non emendaverimus vel si fuerimus extra Regnum Iusticiarius noster non emendaverit infra tempus quadraginta dierum computandum a tempore quo monstratum fuerit nobis vel Iusticiario nostro si extra Regnum fuerimus predicti quatuor barones referant causam illam ad residuos de illi viginti quinque baronibus et illi viginti quinque barones cum communia totius terre distringent et gravabunt nos modis omnibus quibus poterunt, scilicet per capcionem castrorum terrarum possessionum et aliis modis quibus poterunt donec fuerit emendatum secundum arbitrium eorum salva persona nostra, et regine nostre et liberorum nostrorum. Et cum fuerit emendatum intendent nobis sicut prius fecerunt. Et quicumque voluerit de terra iuret quod ad predicta omnia ex[s]equenda parebit mandatis predictorum viginti quinque baronum, et quod gravabit nos pro posse suo cum ipsis et nos publice et libere damus licenciam iurandi cuilibet qui iurare voluerit et nulli umquam iurare prohibebimus. Omnes autem illos de terra qui per se et sponte sua noluerint iurare viginti quinque baronibus de distringendo et gravando nos cum eis, faciemus iurare eosdem de mandato nostro sicut paedictum est. Et si aliquis de viginti quinque baronibus decesserit, vel a terra recesserit, vel aliquo alio modo impeditus fuerit, quo minus ista predicta possent exsequi qui residui fuerint de predictis viginti quinque baronibus eligant alium loco ipsius, pro arbitrio suo, qui simili modo erit iuratus quo et ceteri. In omnibus autem que istis viginti quinque committuntur exsequenda, si forte ipsi viginti quinque presentes fuerint, et inter se super re aliqua discordaverint, vel aliqui ex eis summoniti nolint vel n{e}quant interesse, ratum habeatur et firmum quod maior pars eorum qui presentes fuerint providerit vel preceperit ac si omnes viginti quinque in hoc consensissent; et predicti viginti quinque iurent quod omnia antedicta fideliter observabunt, et pro toto posse suo facient observari. et nos nichil impetrabimus ab aliquo, per nos nec per alium, per quod aliqua istarum concessionum et libertatum revocetur vel minuatur. Et, si aliquid tale impetratum fuerit irricum sit et inane et numquam eo utemur per nos nec per alium.

[62] Et omnes malas voluntates, indignationes, et rancores, ortos inter nos et homines nostros, clericos et laicos, a tempore discordie plene omnibus remisimus et condonavimus. Preterea omnes trangressiones factas occasione eiusdem discordie, a Pascha anno regni nostri sextodecimo usque ad pacem reformatam plene rem{isim}us omnibus, clericis et laicis, et quantum ad nos pertinet plene condonavimus. Et insuper fecimus eis litteras testimoniales patentes Domini Stephani Cantuariensi archiepiscopi, Domini Henrici Dublinensis Archiepiscopi et episcoporum predictorum, et magistri Pandulfi, super securitate ista {et} concessionibus prefatis.

[63] Quare volumus et firmiter precipimus quod Anglicana ecclesia libera sit et quod homines in regno nostro habeant et teneant omnes prefatas libertates iura et concessiones, bene et in pace, libere et quiete plene et integre sibi et heredibus suis de nobis et heredibus nostris in omnibus rebus et locis in perpetuum sicut predictum est. Iuratum est autem tam {ex} parte nostra quam ex parte baronum, quod hec omnia supradicta bona fide et sine malo ingenio observabuntur.

[Witnesses] Testibus supradictis et multis aliis.

[Dating Clause] Data per manum nostram in prato quod vocatur Ronimedo, inter Windelsoram et Stanes, Quinto decimo die Iunij, Anno Regni nostri Decimo Septimo.

Full title
Magna Carta, 1215
Created
15 June 1215 , Runnymede
Format
Manuscript
Held by
British Library
Usage Terms
Free from known copyright restrictions
Shelfmark
Cotton MS Augustus ii.106

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