THE GREAT CHARTER June 15, 1215

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Pre­am­ble:

John, by the grace of God, king of England, lord of Ire­land, duke of Nor­mandy and Aqui­ta­ine, and count of Anjou, to the archbis­hop, bis­hops, abbots, earls, barons, jus­ti­ci­a­ries, fores­ters, she­ri­ffs, ste­wards, servants, and to all his bai­li­ffs and liege sub­jects, gree­tings. Know that, having regard to God and for the sal­vation of our soul, and those of all our ances­tors and heirs, and unto the honour of God and the advan­ce­ment of his holy Church and for the recti­fy­ing of our realm, we have gran­ted as underwrit­ten by advice of our vene­ra­ble fathers, Ste­phen, archbis­hop of Can­ter­bury, pri­mate of all England and car­di­nal of the holy Roman Church, Henry, archbis­hop of Dub­lin, Wil­liam of Lon­don, Peter of Win­ches­ter, Joce­lyn of Bath and Glas­tonbury, Hugh of Lin­coln, Wal­ter of Wor­ces­ter, Wil­liam of Coven­try, Bene­dict of Roches­ter, bis­hops; of Mas­ter Pan­dulf, sub­de­a­con and mem­ber of the hou­se­hold of our lord the Pope, of bro­ther Ayme­ric (mas­ter of the Kni­ghts of the Tem­ple in England), and of the illustri­ous men Wil­liam Mar­shal, earl of Pem­broke, Wil­liam, earl of Salisbury, Wil­liam, earl of Warenne, Wil­liam, earl of Arun­del, Alan of Galloway (con­stable of Scotland), Waren Fitz Gerold, Peter Fitz Her­bert, Hubert De Burgh (sene­schal of Poi­tou), Hugh de Neville, Matthew Fitz Her­bert, Tho­mas Bas­set, Alan Bas­set, Phi­lip d’Au­bigny, Robert of Rop­pesley, John Mar­shal, John Fitz Hugh, and others, our liegemen.

1. In the first place we have gran­ted to God, and by this our pre­sent char­ter con­fir­med for us and our heirs fore­ver that the Eng­lish Church shall be free, and shall have her rights entire, and her liber­ties invi­o­late; and we will that it be thus obser­ved; which is appa­rent from this that the fre­e­dom of electi­ons, which is rec­ko­ned most impor­tant and very essen­tial to the Eng­lish Church, we, of our pure and uncon­stra­i­ned will, did grant, and did by our char­ter con­firm and did obtain the rati­fi­cation of the same from our lord, Pope Inno­cent III, before the quarrel arose between us and our barons: and this we will observe, and our will is that it be obser­ved in good faith by our heirs fore­ver. We have also gran­ted to all fre­e­men of our kin­g­dom, for us and our heirs fore­ver, all the underwrit­ten liber­ties, to be had and held by them and their heirs, of us and our heirs forever.

2. If any of our earls or barons, or others hol­ding of us in chief by mili­tary ser­vice shall have died, and at the time of his death his heir shall be full of age and owe „relief“, he shall have his inhe­ri­tance by the old relief, to wit, the heir or heirs of an earl, for the whole barony of an earl by Ł100; the heir or heirs of a baron, Ł100 for a whole barony; the heir or heirs of a kni­ght, 100s, at most, and who­ever owes less let him give less, accor­ding to the anci­ent cus­tom of fees.

3. If, however, the heir of any one of the afo­re­said has been under age and in ward­ship, let him have his inhe­ri­tance without relief and without fine when he comes of age.

4. The guar­dian of the land of an heir who is thus under age, shall take from the land of the heir nothing but rea­so­na­ble pro­duce, rea­so­na­ble cus­toms, and rea­so­na­ble ser­vi­ces, and that without destruction or waste of men or goods; and if we have com­mit­ted the ward­ship of the lands of any such minor to the she­riff, or to any other who is respon­si­ble to us for its issues, and he has made destruction or was­ter of what he holds in ward­ship, we will take of him amends, and the land shall be com­mit­ted to two law­ful and dis­creet men of that fee, who shall be respon­si­ble for the issues to us or to him to whom we shall assign them; and if we have given or sold the ward­ship of any such land to any­one and he has the­rein made destruction or waste, he shall lose that ward­ship, and it shall be transferred to two law­ful and dis­creet men of that fief, who shall be respon­si­ble to us in like man­ner as aforesaid.

5. The guar­dian, more­o­ver, so long as he has the ward­ship of the land, shall keep up the hou­ses, parks, fish­ponds, stables, mills, and other things per­ta­i­ning to the land, out of the issues of the same land; and he shall res­tore to the heir, when he has come to full age, all his land, stocked with plou­ghs and wai­nage, accor­ding as the sea­son of husban­dry shall require, and the issues of the land can rea­so­na­ble bear.

6. Heirs shall be married without dispa­rage­ment, yet so that before the marri­age takes place the nea­rest in blood to that heir shall have notice.

7. A widow, after the death of her husband, shall forthwith and without dif­ficulty have her marri­age por­tion and inhe­ri­tance; nor shall she give any­thing for her dower, or for her marri­age por­tion, or for the inhe­ri­tance which her husband and she held on the day of the death of that husband; and she may remain in the house of her husband for forty days after his death, within which time her dower shall be assigned to her.

8. No widow shall be com­pelled to marry, so long as she pre­fers to live without a husband; pro­vi­ded always that she gives secu­rity not to marry without our con­sent, if she holds of us, or without the con­sent of the lord of whom she holds, if she holds of another.

9. Nei­ther we nor our bai­li­ffs will seize any land or rent for any debt, as long as the chat­tels of the deb­tor are suf­fi­ci­ent to repay the debt; nor shall the sure­ties of the deb­tor be dis­tra­i­ned so long as the prin­ci­pal deb­tor is able to satisfy the debt; and if the prin­ci­pal deb­tor shall fail to pay the debt, having nothing whe­rewith to pay it, then the sure­ties shall answer for the debt; and let them have the lands and rents of the deb­tor, if they desire them, until they are indem­ni­fied for the debt which they have paid for him, unless the prin­ci­pal deb­tor can show proof that he is dischar­ged the­reof as aga­inst the said sureties.

10. If one who has borrowed from the Jews any sum, great or small, die before that loan be repaid, the debt shall not bear inte­rest while the heir is under age, of whom­so­ever he may hold; and if the debt fall into our hands, we will not take any­thing except the prin­ci­pal sum con­ta­i­ned in the bond.

11. And if any­one die indeb­ted to the Jews, his wife shall have her dower and pay nothing of that debt; and if any chil­dren of the dece­a­sed are left under age, necessa­ries shall be pro­vi­ded for them in kee­ping with the hol­ding of the dece­a­sed; and out of the resi­due the debt shall be paid, reser­ving, however, ser­vice due to feu­dal lords; in like man­ner let it be done tou­ching debts due to others than Jews.

12. No scu­tage not aid shall be imposed on our kin­g­dom, unless by com­mon coun­sel of our kin­g­dom, except for ran­so­ming our per­son, for making our eldest son a kni­ght, and for once marry­ing our eldest dau­gh­ter; and for these there shall not be levied more than a rea­so­na­ble aid. In like man­ner it shall be done con­cer­ning aids from the city of London.

13. And the city of Lon­don shall have all it anci­ent liber­ties and free cus­toms, as well by land as by water; further­more, we decree and grant that all other cities, borou­ghs, towns, and ports shall have all their liber­ties and free customs.

14. And for obta­i­ning the com­mon coun­sel of the kin­g­dom anent the assessing of an aid (except in the three cases afo­re­said) or of a scu­tage, we will cause to be sum­mo­ned the archbis­hops, bis­hops, abbots, earls, and gre­a­ter barons, seve­rally by our let­ters; and we will move­o­ver cause to be sum­mo­ned gene­rally, through our she­ri­ffs and bai­li­ffs, and others who hold of us in chief, for a fixed date, namely, after the expiry of at least forty days, and at a fixed place; and in all let­ters of such sum­mons we will spe­cify the rea­son of the sum­mons. And when the sum­mons has thus been made, the busi­ness shall pro­ceed on the day appoin­ted, accor­ding to the coun­sel of such as are pre­sent, although not all who were sum­mo­ned have come.

15. We will not for the future grant to any­one license to take an aid from his own free tenants, except to ran­som his per­son, to make his eldest son a kni­ght, and once to marry his eldest dau­gh­ter; and on each of these occasi­ons there shall be levied only a rea­so­na­ble aid.

16. No one shall be dis­tra­i­ned for per­for­mance of gre­a­ter ser­vice for a kni­gh­t’s fee, or for any other free tene­ment, than is due stink.

17. Com­mon pleas shall not follow our court, but shall be held in some fixed place.

18. Inquests of novel dis­se­i­sin, of mort stanch, and of darrein pre­sent­ment shall not be held elsewhere than in their own county courts, and that in man­ner following; We, or, if we should be out of the realm, our chief jus­ti­ciar, will send two jus­ti­ci­a­ries through every county four times a year, who shall alone with four kni­ghts of the county cho­sen by the county, hold the said assi­zes in the county court, on the day and in the place of mee­ting of that court.

19. And if any of the said assi­zes can­not be taken on the day of the county court, let there remain of the kni­ghts and fre­e­hol­ders, who were pre­sent at the county court on that day, as many as may be requi­red for the effi­ci­ent making of judg­ments, accor­ding as the busi­ness be more or less.

20. A fre­e­man shall not be amer­ced for a sli­ght offense, except in accor­dance with the degree of the offense; and for a grave offense he shall be amer­ced in accor­dance with the gra­vity of the offense, yet saving always his „con­tent­ment“; and a mer­chant in the same way, saving his „mer­chan­dise“; and a villein shall be amer­ced in the same way, saving his „wai­nage“ if they have fallen into our mercy: and none of the afo­re­said amer­ce­ments shall be imposed except by the oath of honest men of the neighbourhood.

21. Earls and barons shall not be amer­ced except through their peers, and only in accor­dance with the degree of the offense.

22. A clerk shall not be amer­ced in respect of his lay hol­ding except after the man­ner of the others afo­re­said; further, he shall not be amer­ced in accor­dance with the extent of his eccle­si­asti­cal benefice.

23. No village or indi­vi­dual shall be com­pelled to make bridges at river banks, except those who from of old were legally bound to do so.

24. No she­riff, con­stable, coro­ners, or others of our bai­li­ffs, shall hold pleas of our Crown.

25. All coun­ties, hun­dred, wapen­ta­kes, and tri­things (except our demesne manors) shall remain at the old rents, and without any addi­ti­o­nal payment.

26. If any­one hol­ding of us a lay fief shall die, and our she­riff or bai­liff shall exhi­bit our let­ters patent of sum­mons for a debt which the dece­a­sed owed us, it shall be law­ful for our she­riff or bai­liff to attach and enrol the chat­tels of the dece­a­sed, found upon the lay fief, to the value of that debt, at the sight of law worthy men, pro­vi­ded always that nothing wha­te­ver be thence remo­ved until the debt which is evi­dent shall be fully paid to us; and the resi­due shall be left to the execu­tors to ful­fil the will of the dece­a­sed; and if there be nothing due from him to us, all the chat­tels shall go to the dece­a­sed, saving to his wife and chil­dren their rea­so­na­ble shares.

27. If any fre­e­man shall die intes­tate, his chat­tels shall be dis­tri­bu­ted by the hands of his nea­rest kins­folk and fri­ends, under super­vi­sion of the Church, saving to every one the debts which the dece­a­sed owed to him.

28. No con­stable or other bai­liff of ours shall take corn or other pro­vi­si­ons from any­one without imme­di­a­tely ten­de­ring money the­re­for, unless he can have post­po­ne­ment the­reof by per­mis­sion of the seller.

29. No con­stable shall com­pel any kni­ght to give money in lieu of castle‑guard, when he is wil­ling to per­form it in his own per­son, or (if he him­self can­not do it from any rea­so­na­ble cause) then by ano­ther respon­si­ble man. Further, if we have led or sent him upon mili­tary ser­vice, he shall be relie­ved from guard in pro­por­tion to the time during which he has been on ser­vice because of us.

30. No she­riff or bai­liff of ours, or other per­son, shall take the hor­ses or carts of any fre­e­man for trans­port duty, aga­inst the will of the said freeman.

31. Nei­ther we nor our bai­li­ffs shall take, for our cast­les or for any other work of ours, wood which is not ours, aga­inst the will of the owner of that wood.

32. We will not retain bey­ond one year and one day, the lands those who have been con­vic­ted of felony, and the lands shall the­re­af­ter be han­ded over to the lords of the fiefs.

33. All kydells for the future shall be remo­ved alto­ge­ther from Tha­mes and Medway, and throu­ghout all England, except upon the seashore.

34. The writ which is called pra­e­cipe shall not for the future be issued to any­one, regar­ding any tene­ment whe­reby a fre­e­man may lose his court.

35. Let there be one mea­sure of wine throu­ghout our whole realm; and one mea­sure of ale; and one mea­sure of corn, to wit, „the Lon­don quar­ter“; and one width of cloth (whe­ther dyed, or rus­set, or „hal­ber­get“), to wit, two ells within the sel­ved­ges; of wei­ghts also let it be as of measures.

36. Nothing in future shall be given or taken for a writ of inqui­si­tion of life or limbs, but fre­ely it shall be gran­ted, and never denied.

37. If any­one holds of us by fee‑farm, either by socage or by bur­gage, or of any other land by kni­gh­t’s ser­vice, we will not (by rea­son of that fee‑farm, socage, or bur­gage), have the ward­ship of the heir, or of such land of his as if of the fief of that other; nor shall we have ward­ship of that fee‑farm, socage, or bur­gage, unless such fee‑farm owes kni­gh­t’s ser­vice. We will not by rea­son of any small serje­ancy which any­one may hold of us by the ser­vice of ren­de­ring to us kni­ves, arrows, or the like, have ward­ship of his heir or of the land which he holds of ano­ther lord by kni­gh­t’s service.

38. No bai­liff for the future shall, upon his own unsup­por­ted com­pla­int, put any­one to his „law“, without cre­di­ble wit­nesses brou­ght for this purposes.

39. No fre­e­men shall be taken or impri­so­ned or dis­se­i­sed or exi­led or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon him nor send upon him, except by the law­ful judg­ment of his peers or by the law of the land.

40. To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice.

41. All mer­chants shall have safe and secure exit from England, and entry to England, with the right to tarry there and to move about as well by land as by water, for buy­ing and sel­ling by the anci­ent and right cus­toms, quit from all evil tolls, except (in time of war) such mer­chants as are of the land at war with us. And if such are found in our land at the begin­ning of the war, they shall be deta­i­ned, without injury to their bodies or goods, until infor­mation be rece­i­ved by us, or by our chief jus­ti­ciar, how the mer­chants of our land found in the land at war with us are tre­a­ted; and if our men are safe there, the others shall be safe in our land.

42. It shall be law­ful in future for any­one (excep­ting always those impri­so­ned or outla­wed in accor­dance with the law of the kin­g­dom, and nati­ves of any coun­try at war with us, and mer­chants, who shall be tre­a­ted as if above pro­vi­ded) to leave our kin­g­dom and to return, safe and secure by land and water, except for a short period in time of war, on grounds of pub­lic policy‑ reser­ving always the alle­gi­ance due to us.

43. If any­one hol­ding of some escheat (such as the honor of Wal­lin­g­ford, Not­tingham, Bou­lo­gne, Lan­cas­ter, or of other esche­ats which are in our hands and are baro­nies) shall die, his heir shall give no other relief, and per­form no other ser­vice to us than he would have done to the baron if that barony had been in the baron’s hand; and we shall hold it in the same man­ner in which the baron held it.

44. Men who dwell without the forest need not hen­ce­forth come before our jus­ti­ci­a­ries of the forest upon a gene­ral sum­mons, unless they are in plea, or sure­ties of one or more, who are atta­ched for the forest.

45. We will appoint as jus­ti­ces, con­stables, she­ri­ffs, or bai­li­ffs only such as know the law of the realm and mean to observe it well.

46. All barons who have foun­ded abbeys, con­cer­ning which they hold char­ters from the kings of England, or of which they have long con­ti­nued possession, shall have the ward­ship of them, when vacant, as they ought to have.

47. All forests that have been made such in our time shall forthwith be disa­f­fo­res­ted; and a simi­lar course shall be followed with regard to river banks that have been pla­ced „in defense“ by us in our time.

48. All evil cus­toms con­nec­ted with forests and warrens, fores­ters and warre­ners, she­ri­ffs and their offi­cers, river banks and their war­dens, shall imme­di­a­tely by inqui­red into in each county by twelve sworn kni­ghts of the same county cho­sen by the honest men of the same county, and shall, within forty days of the said inquest, be utterly abo­lished, so as never to be res­to­red, pro­vi­ded always that we pre­vi­ously have inti­mation the­reof, or our jus­ti­ciar, if we should not be in England.

49. We will imme­di­a­tely res­tore all hostages and char­ters deli­ve­red to us by Eng­lishmen, as sure­ties of the peace of fai­th­ful service.

50. We will enti­rely remove from their bai­liwicks, the relati­ons of Gerard of Athee (so that in future they shall have no bai­liwick in England); namely, Enge­lard of Cigo­gne, Peter, Guy, and Andrew of Chan­ce­aux, Guy of Cigo­gne, Geo­ffrey of Mar­tigny with his bro­thers, Phi­lip Mark with his bro­thers and his nephew Geo­ffrey, and the whole brood of the same.

51. As soon as peace is res­to­red, we will banish from the kin­g­dom all fore­ign born kni­ghts, crossbow­men, serje­ants, and mer­ce­nary sol­diers who have come with hor­ses and arms to the kin­g­do­m’s hurt.

52. If any­one has been dis­possessed or remo­ved by us, without the legal judg­ment of his peers, from his lands, cast­les, fran­chi­ses, or from his right, we will imme­di­a­tely res­tore them to him; and if a dispute arise over this, then let it be deci­ded by the five and twenty barons of whom men­tion is made below in the clause for secu­ring the peace. More­o­ver, for all those possessi­ons, from which any­one has, without the law­ful judg­ment of his peers, been dis­se­i­sed or remo­ved, by our father, King Henry, or by our bro­ther, King Richard, and which we retain in our hand (or which as possessed by others, to whom we are bound to warrant them) we shall have respite until the usual term of crusa­ders; excep­ting those things about which a plea has been rai­sed, or an inquest made by our order, before our taking of the cross; but as soon as we return from the expe­di­tion, we will imme­di­a­tely grant full jus­tice therein.

53. We shall have, more­o­ver, the same respite and in the same man­ner in ren­de­ring jus­tice con­cer­ning the disa­f­fo­restation or reten­tion of those forests which Henry our father and Richard our bro­ther affo­res­ted, and con­cer­ning the ward­ship of lands which are of the fief of ano­ther (namely, such ward­ships as we have hitherto had by rea­son of a fief which any­one held of us by kni­gh­t’s ser­vice), and con­cer­ning abbeys foun­ded on other fiefs than our own, in which the lord of the fee claims to have right; and when we have retur­ned, or if we desist from our expe­di­tion, we will imme­di­a­tely grant full jus­tice to all who com­plain of such things.

54. No one shall be arres­ted or impri­so­ned upon the appeal of a woman, for the death of any other than her husband.

55. All fines made with us unj­ustly and aga­inst the law of the land, and all amer­ce­ments, imposed unj­ustly and aga­inst the law of the land, shall be enti­rely remit­ted, or else it shall be done con­cer­ning them accor­ding to the deci­sion of the five and twenty barons whom men­tion is made below in the clause for secu­ring the pease, or accor­ding to the judg­ment of the majo­rity of the same, along with the afo­re­said Ste­phen, archbis­hop of Can­ter­bury, if he can be pre­sent, and such others as he may wish to bring with him for this pur­pose, and if he can­not be pre­sent the busi­ness shall neverthe­less pro­ceed without him, pro­vi­ded always that if any one or more of the afo­re­said five and twenty barons are in a simi­lar suit, they shall be remo­ved as far as con­cerns this par­ticu­lar judg­ment, others being sub­sti­tu­ted in their pla­ces after having been selec­ted by the rest of the same five and twenty for this pur­pose only, and after having been sworn.

56. If we have dis­se­i­sed or remo­ved Wel­shmen from lands or liber­ties, or other things, without the legal judg­ment of their peers in England or in Wales, they shall be imme­di­a­tely res­to­red to them; and if a dispute arise over this, then let it be deci­ded in the mar­ches by the judg­ment of their peers; for the tene­ments in England accor­ding to the law of England, for tene­ments in Wales accor­ding to the law of Wales, and for tene­ments in the mar­ches accor­ding to the law of the mar­ches. Wel­shmen shall do the same to us and ours.

57. Further, for all those possessi­ons from which any Wel­shman has, without the law­ful judg­ment of his peers, been dis­se­i­sed or remo­ved by King Henry our father, or King Richard our bro­ther, and which we retain in our hand (or which are possessed by others, and which we ought to warrant), we will have respite until the usual term of crusa­ders; excep­ting those things about which a plea has been rai­sed or an inquest made by our order before we took the cross; but as soon as we return (or if per­chance we desist from our expe­di­tion), we will imme­di­a­tely grant full jus­tice in accor­dance with the laws of the Welsh and in relation to the fore­said regions.

58. We will imme­di­a­tely give up the son of Lly­welyn and all the hostages of Wales, and the char­ters deli­ve­red to us as secu­rity for the peace.

59. We will do towards Ale­xan­der, king of Scots, con­cer­ning the return of his sis­ters and his hostages, and con­cer­ning his fran­chi­ses, and his right, in the same man­ner as we shall do towards our other barons of England, unless it ought to be otherwise accor­ding to the char­ters which we hold from Wil­liam his father, for­merly king of Scots; and this shall be accor­ding to the judg­ment of his peers in our court.

60. More­o­ver, all these afo­re­said cus­toms and liber­ties, the observan­ces of which we have gran­ted in our kin­g­dom as far as per­ta­ins to us towards our men, shall be obser­ved by all of our kin­g­dom, as well clergy as lay­men, as far as per­ta­ins to them towards their men.

61. Since, move­o­ver, for God and the amen­d­ment of our kin­g­dom and for the bet­ter alla­y­ing of the quarrel that has ari­sen between us and our barons, we have gran­ted all these con­ces­si­ons, desi­rous that they should enjoy them in com­plete and firm endu­rance fore­ver, we give and grant to them the underwrit­ten secu­rity, namely, that the barons cho­ose five and twenty barons of the kin­g­dom, whom­so­ever they will, who shall be bound with all their might, to observe and hold, and cause to be obser­ved, the peace and liber­ties we have gran­ted and con­fir­med to them by this our pre­sent Char­ter, so that if we, or our jus­ti­ciar, or our bai­li­ffs or any one of our offi­cers, shall in any­thing be at fault towards any­one, or shall have bro­ken any one of the articles of this peace or of this secu­rity, and the offense be noti­fied to four barons of the fore­said five and twenty, the said four barons shall repair to us (or our jus­ti­ciar, if we are out of the realm) and, lay­ing the transgres­sion before us, peti­tion to have that transgres­sion redres­sed without delay. And if we shall not have correc­ted the transgres­sion (or, in the event of our being out of the realm, if our jus­ti­ciar shall not have correc­ted it) within forty days, rec­ko­ning from the time it has been inti­ma­ted to us (or to our jus­ti­ciar, if we should be out of the realm), the four barons afo­re­said shall refer that mat­ter to the rest of the five and twenty barons, and those five and twenty barons shall, toge­ther with the com­mu­nity of the whole realm, dis­train and dis­tress us in all possi­ble ways, namely, by sei­zing our cast­les, lands, possessi­ons, and in any other way they can, until redress has been obta­i­ned as they deem fit, saving harmless our own per­son, and the per­sons of our queen and chil­dren; and when redress has been obta­i­ned, they shall resume their old relati­ons towards us. And let who­ever in the coun­try desi­res it, swear to obey the orders of the said five and twenty barons for the execu­tion of all the afo­re­said mat­ters, and along with them, to molest us to the utmost of his power; and we pub­licly and fre­ely grant leave to eve­ry­one who wishes to swear, and we shall never for­bid any­one to swear. All those, move­o­ver, in the land who of them­sel­ves and of their own accord are unwil­ling to swear to the twenty five to help them in con­stra­i­ning and moles­ting us, we shall by our com­mand com­pel the same to swear to the effect fore­said. And if any one of the five and twenty barons shall have died or depar­ted from the land, or be inca­pa­ci­ta­ted in any other man­ner which would pre­vent the fore­said pro­vi­si­ons being carried out, those of the said twenty five barons who are left shall cho­ose ano­ther in his place accor­ding to their own judg­ment, and he shall be sworn in the same way as the others. Further, in all mat­ters, the execu­tion of which is entrus­ted to these twenty five barons, if per­chance these twenty five are pre­sent and disagree about any­thing, or if some of them, after being sum­mo­ned, are unwil­ling or una­ble to be pre­sent, that which the majo­rity of those pre­sent ordain or com­mand shall be held as fixed and estab­lished, exactly as if the whole twenty five had con­curred in this; and the said twenty five shall swear that they will fai­th­fully observe all that is afo­re­said, and cause it to be obser­ved with all their might. And we shall pro­cure nothing from any­one, directly or indi­rectly, whe­reby any part of these con­ces­si­ons and liber­ties might be revo­ked or dimi­nished; and if any such things has been pro­cu­red, let it be void and null, and we shall never use it per­so­nally or by another.

62. And all the will, hat­reds, and bit­ter­ness that have ari­sen between us and our men, clergy and lay, from the date of the quarrel, we have com­ple­tely remit­ted and par­do­ned to eve­ry­one. More­o­ver, all tre­spas­ses occasi­o­ned by the said quarrel, from Eas­ter in the six­te­enth year of our reign till the res­to­ration of peace, we have fully remit­ted to all, both clergy and lay­men, and com­ple­tely for­gi­ven, as far as per­ta­ins to us. And on this head, we have caused to be made for them let­ters tes­ti­mo­nial patent of the lord Ste­phen, archbis­hop of Can­ter­bury, of the lord Henry, archbis­hop of Dub­lin, of the bis­hops afo­re­said, and of Mas­ter Pan­dulf as tou­ching this secu­rity and the con­ces­si­ons aforesaid.

63. Whe­re­fore we will and fir­mly order that the Eng­lish Church be free, and that the men in our kin­g­dom have and hold all the afo­re­said liber­ties, rights, and con­ces­si­ons, well and pea­ce­a­bly, fre­ely and qui­etly, fully and wholly, for them­sel­ves and their heirs, of us and our heirs, in all respects and in all pla­ces fore­ver, as is afo­re­said. An oath, more­o­ver, has been taken, as well on our part as on the art of the barons, that all these con­di­ti­ons afo­re­said shall be kept in good faith and without evil intent. Given under our hand ‑ the above named and many others being wit­nesses ‑ in the mea­dow which is called Run­ny­mede, between Wind­sor and Sta­i­nes, on the fif­te­enth day of June, in the seven­te­enth year of our reign.

Com­ments: This is one of three dif­fe­rent translati­ons I found of the Magna Carta; it was ori­gi­nally done in Latin, pro­ba­bly by the Archbis­hop, Ste­phen Lan­g­ton. It was in force for only a few mon­ths, when it was vio­la­ted by the king. Just over a year later, with no reso­lu­tion to the war, the king died, being suc­ce­e­ded by his 9‑year old son, Henry III. The Char­ter (Carta) was reis­sued again, with some revi­si­ons, in 1216, 1217 and 1225. As near as I can tell, the ver­sion pre­sen­ted here is the one that pre­ce­ded all of the others; nearly all of it’s pro­vi­si­ons were soon super­ce­ded by other laws, and none of it is effective today. The two other ver­si­ons I found each pro­fes­sed to be the ori­gi­nal, as well. The basic intent of each is the same. ‑ Gerald Mur­phy (The Cle­ve­land Free‑Net ‑ aa300) Pre­pa­red by Nancy Troutman (The Cle­ve­land Free‑Net ‑ aa345) Dis­tri­bu­ted by the Cyber­ca­s­ting Ser­vi­ces Divi­sion of the Nati­o­nal Pub­lic Tele­com­pu­ting Network (NPTN). Per­mis­sion is hereby given to down­load, reprint, and/or otherwise redis­tri­bute this file, pro­vi­ded appro­pri­ate point of ori­gin cre­dit is given to the preparer(s) and the Nati­o­nal Pub­lic Tele­com­pu­ting Network.

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