During the 13th and 14th centuries, Magna Carta was frequently copied into chronicles and collections of charters and statutes, for use by lawyers and administrators. In some cases, only the most recent version of Magna Carta was recorded; sometimes, texts of different versions of the charter were conflated. Errors of transcription are not uncommon in such compilations. This manuscript, made in the reign of King Edward II (r. 1307–27), contains various statutes in Latin and Anglo-Norman French, beginning with the 1215 Magna Carta (‘Carta regis Iohannis dicta de Ronemede’), the version of the Great Charter issued by Henry III in 1225, and the Charter of the Forest. Henry III’s Magna Carta opens with an ornately decorated initial ‘H’, painted in red and blue and embellished with gold leaf, highlighting the significance of the text. Such collections of statutes are frequently small in size, for ease of portability and consultation.
- Article by:
- Nicholas Vincent
- Medieval origins, Clauses and content
The agreement at Runnymede in 1215 had broad consequences for medieval England. Professor Nicholas Vincent explores the immediate impact of Magna Carta, considering the Civil War, the re-issue of the charter and the formation of early forms of parliament.