King John, The Barons, and Magna Carta, sealed 1215 June 15th

Magna carta

Magna Carta, the charter of English liberties, was granted by King John on June 15th 1215. By declaring the sovereign to be subject to the rule of law and documenting the liberties held by “free men,” Magna Carta provided the foundation for individual rights in Anglo-American jurisprudence. A few items are of particular note and salient feature, namely:

“To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice.” This is surely one of the most famous provisions which is cornerstone many such declarations of rights of man and declarations of independence. However, the lesser-known (and some might say, odd) provisions are worth noting for their historical reference.

. Magna Carta (Great Charter) was known as the Charter of Liberties became Magna Carta when a Charter of the Forest was issued in 1217 and first one became the “great” one.

. The Magna Carta was not signed, rather it was sealed. It seems King John did not want to put pen to paper.

. No one knows who wrote the Magna Carta except some gang of barons.  It is presumed to be a “group effort.”

. Magna Carta was originally in Latin. It was not issued in English until over 300 years later, which limited its audience.  There was no need to let the masses read it in English since only the upper class and clergy were afforded rights in the charter.

. In modern English translation, it has 4,922 words. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights has only 1,833.  It appears that it was a “great” charter at least in its length.

. In its first version, Magna Carta lasted only three months before King John violated its terms. Perhaps he had his fingers crossed when he set his seal to it.

. The original Magna Carta was written on parchment made from dried sheepskin since the sheep where not given any rights.


“London Calling” ~~ The Clash

“Johnny Strikes up the Band” ~~ Warran Zevon

” Grey Seal” ~~ Elton John

“Thames” ~~ Starsailor

“King Without a Castle” ~~ Chris Isaak


6 thoughts on “King John, The Barons, and Magna Carta, sealed 1215 June 15th

  1. Thank you for speaking up for the sheep whose skin was used for the parchment. Maybe some day, they too will have rights. Progress has been slow, but anything is possible. :)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It has some very strange clauses, including one about the standardized measurement of cloth. The conversation that got that one in there must’ve been interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have read that the Barons were tired of the King cheating them in payment for items including textiles. They wanted a standardized measurement for sale and commerce. It is all about assuring their profits.

      Liked by 1 person

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