The maps drawn by Matthew Paris (1200–59) offer a unique impression of mid-13th-century Britain. Paris, who did not travel far from his own monastery at St Albans in Hertfordshire, was the greatest English cartographer of his age, although his maps differ greatly from geographical reality. In this, his most detailed depiction of Britain, Scotland is joined to the mainland by a bridge at Stirling, and Rochester, Canterbury and Dover are erroneously situated due south of London. Windsor (‘Windleshores’) is depicted as a castle straddling the River Thames, but Runnymede is not represented: reportedly, the site where Magna Carta was sealed in 1215 does not feature on English maps until after the Middle Ages. No fewer than 252 places are recorded on this particular map, including 81 cathedrals and monasteries, 41 castles and 33 ports.
- Article by:
- The British Library
Delve into the mysterious world of maps and views and reflect on the founders’ curiosity about the universe.
- Article by:
- Nicholas Vincent
- Clauses and content
A number of Magna Carta’s core principles are still fundamental to English law, but the majority of the charter’s clauses in 1215 dealt with specific medieval rights and customs. Here Professor Nicholas Vincent provides an overview of the charter’s original clauses.