The Magna Carta was successfully invoked in accordance with Clause 61 on March 23rd, 2001, and continues to embody the Supreme Law of the whole realm today.
All citizens of the realm have a lawful duty to recognize this treaty until The Crown has made redress.
Under this treaty, The Crown cannot proceed against any freeman, or send others to do so, except according to the lawful sentence of their peers and according to the Common Law.
When redress has been obtained, the citizenry shall resume their old relations toward The Crown.
Table of Contents
Exhibit A: Preamble
On February 7th, 2001 the original ‘Committee Of Twenty-Five Barons’ did petition the British Crown on withholding Royal Assent from any Parliamentary Bill which attempted to ratify the Treaty Of Nice. In this petition, the Committee referenced not only the Magna Carta, but the Declaration of Rights and Coronation Oath (1953).
Response to the petition did occur on the 39th day of the 40 days which were provided for by law. The ‘Committee Of Twenty-Five Barons’ then invoked Article 61 of the Magna Carta on March 23rd, 2001, and continue to act with Lawful Dissent until redress has been made and for as long as they abide by English Constitution without deviation.
Exhibit B: Sworn Oath
“On behalf of the Canadian Nationalist Party, I, Travis M. Patron, hereby issue public notice on the lawful standing of our political constituency in response to the British Crown failing to make redress after being petitioned by the ‘Committee Of Twenty-Five Barons’ on February 7th, 2001 (Exhibit C). We are serving notice to public officials who have sworn an Oath Of Allegiance to the British Crown that we are acting with Lawful Dissent while intending to prevent any breach of peace until redress has been obtained. When redress has been obtained, we shall resume our old relations toward the British Crown.
Wherefore, we do hereby solemnly swear an Oath Of Allegiance to the original ‘Committee Of Twenty-Five Barons’ in accordance with Article 61 of the Magna Carta, sealed as treaty by King John of England in the year 1215 at Runnymede. Any subject of the British Crown who, when commanded to do so, fails to honour this treaty may be held criminally liable for aiding and abetting High Treason.
We declare ourselves to be standing entirely under Common Law with lawful excuse, to uphold Constitutional Law, to stand in defense of the realm and against those who may seek, or are currently seeking to extort unlawful gain from ourselves at this time, or at any future time while this oath remains in effect.
All subjects of the British Crown must, by Royal Command abide by Constitutional Law which, in the context of Magna Carta, supersedes Statutes and Acts sanctified by Parliament.
With God as our witness, we agree to conduct ourselves under this treaty with honesty, integrity, and honour at all times, upholding truth and the principle of justice enshrined as stare decisis.
These Common Law provisions include, but are not limited to, the following:
- We reserve the right of habeas corpus, to be free from arbitrary detention or imprisonment before any evidence has been produced within a court, wherein the evidence provides good reason for remand, as well as the right to consult counsel without delay and to be informed of this right.
- We reserve the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty before a judge or jury of our peers. Crown counsel must present evidence to an unbiased judge or jury in an open court to prove guilt. If reasonable doubt remains, the accused must be acquitted.
- We reserve the right to procedural defense against double jeopardy, that an accused cannot be tried again on the same (or similar) charges following a valid acquittal or conviction.
- We reserve the right to negotiate extradition procedure based on bilateral treaties. We recognize political offense exemption involving overt acts or omissions (where there is a duty to act), which prejudice the interests of the state, its government, or the political system. Such provisions allow the state whose assistance has been requested to refuse to hand over a suspect to — or to gather evidence on behalf of — another state, if the requested party’s competent authority determines that the requesting party seeks assistance in order to prosecute an offense of a political character.
- We reserve the right of exclusionary rule, which prevents evidence collected or analyzed in violation of the accused constitutional rights from being used in a court of law.
- We reserve the right to a fair trial within a reasonable time.
- We reserve the right to remain silent. The accused retains the right to avoid self-incrimination, including provision that adverse inferences cannot be made by judge or jury regarding the refusal of a defendant to answer questions before or during a trial, hearing or any other legal proceeding.
The above affirmations and claims are valid as to our lawful understanding, and which are sworn by on penalty of perjury and commercial liability.
We pledge to save from harm The Throne, The Queen, and Her Heirs.
In putting subjects of the British Crown on public notice of our standing in law, with the intent to prevent any breach of peace, we request, as lawfully obliged, prompt acknowledgement or objection of this notice including any undue consideration.
Speak now or forever hold your peace.”
Exhibit C: Petition To The Queen
Committee Of Twenty-Five Barons
February 7th, 2001
A Petition to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II presented under clause 61 of Magna Carta 1215. 7th February 2001. To Defend British Rights and Freedoms;
As our humble duty, we draw to Your Majesty’s attention:
- The loss of our national independence and the erosion of our ancient rights, freedoms and customs since the United Kingdom became a member of the European Economic Community (now the European Union) in 1973;
- The terms of the Treaty of Nice, 2000, which, if ratified, will cause significant new losses of national independence, and further imperil the rights and freedoms of the British people, by surrendering powers to the European Union:
- a) to enter into international treaties binding on the United Kingdom, without the consent of your Government;
- b) to ban political parties, deny free association and restrict the free expression of political opinion;
- c) which can be used to introduce an alien system of criminal justice, abolish the ancient British rights of habeas corpus and trial by jury, and allow onto British soil men-at-arms from other countries with powers of enforcement;
- d) to create a military force which will place British service personnel under the command of the European Union without reference to British interests,and contrary to:
- i) the oath of personal loyalty to the Crown sworn by British forces,
- ii) the Queen’s Commission, and;
- iii) the United Kingdom’s obligations to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation;
- e) which remove the United Kingdom’s right to veto decisions not in British interests;
- The terms of the Treaty of Nice, 2000, which, if ratified, will cause significant new losses of national independence, and further imperil the rights and freedoms of the British people, by surrendering powers to the European Union:
- The creation by the European Union of a Charter of Fundamental Rights, which purports to give it the power to abolish such “rights” at will;
- The unlawful use of the Royal Prerogative to:
- a) suspend or offend against statutes in ways which are prejudicial and detrimental to your sovereignty, contrary to the Coronation Oath Act, 1688;
- b) subvert the rights and liberties of your loyal subjects, contrary to the ruling in Nichols v Nichols, 1576;
- The unlawful use of the Royal Prerogative to:
- Your Majesty’s power to withhold the Royal Assent, and the precedent set by Queen Anne under a similar threat to the security of the Realm in 1707;
WHEREFORE it is our humble duty TO PETITION Your Majesty to withhold the Royal Assent from any Parliamentary Bill which attempts to ratify the Treaty of Nice unless and until the people of the United Kingdom have given clear and specific approval; to uphold and preserve the rights, freedoms and customs of your loyal subjects as set out in Magna Carta and the Declaration of Rights, which you, our Sovereign, swore before the nation to uphold and preserve in your Coronation Oath of June 1953.
We have the honour to be Your Majesty’s loyal and obedient subjects.”
Exchange Between Baron’s Committee & Private Secretary of the Office of Sovereign
Sir Robin Janvrin, KCVO, CB
Principal Private Secretary to Her Majesty The Queen
March 23rd, 2001
You were kind enough to invite a letter of amplification to accompany our petition to Her Majesty. Thank you.
The Treaty of Nice raises issues of major constitutional importance. It directly threatens our rights and freedoms, and undermines oaths of loyalty to the Crown. Such fundamental matters cannot be considered merely the stuff of day-to-day politics. They directly concern the Crown, the constitution and every British subject, including generations yet unborn.
We find ourselves living in exceptional times, which call for exceptional measures. Hence our petition to Her Majesty, which exercises rights unused for over 300 years – Clause 61 of Magna Carta, which were reinforced by Article 5 of the Bill of Rights. As you know, the wording of Clause 61 says: … and, laying the transgression before us, petition to have that transgression redressed without delay … And we shall procure noting 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.
We have petitioned Her Majesty to withhold the Royal Assent from any Bill seeking to ratify the Treaty of Nice because there is clear evidence(which we shall address in a moment) that it is in direct conflict with the Constitution of the United Kingdom. It conflicts with Magna Carta, with the Declaration and Bill of Rights and, above all, with Her Majesty’s Coronation Oath and the Oaths of Office of Her Majesty’s ministers. Every one of these protections stand to this day, which is why they are now being invoked by our petition.
Ultimately, our supreme protection is Her Majesty’s obligations under the Coronation Oath. The Queen has solemnly promised to govern the peoples of the United Kingdom according to the Statutes in Parliament agreed on and according to their laws and customs. Her Majesty also swore to preserve all rights and privileges as by law do or shall appertain to any of them. From the spiritual point of view, it is unimaginable that Her Majesty would seek, in effect a divorce from her duty. From a secular point of view, the Coronation Oath is a signed contract.
Recent statements by ministers, and by the previous prime minister, confirm that they would not advice any measure which might tend to breach the Coronation Oath nor betray Her Majesty’s promise to her loyal subjects. Her Majesty accepts the advice of her ministers. Conversely, it is their duty to advise in accordance with the Coronation Oath. They cannot lawfully advise a breach. Nor can they gain or remain in power without swearing allegiance to the Crown. Yet the Treaty of Nice represents precisely such a breach, and it has now been signed by the foreign secretary using the Royal Prerogative. Blackstone’s Commentaries (volume 1, page 239) says of the Royal Prerogative: The splendour, rights, and powers of the Crown were attached to it for the benefit of the people. They form part of, and are, generally speaking, as ancient as the law itself. Deprerogativa Regis is merely declaratory of the common law …
The duties arising from the relation of sovereign and subject are reciprocal. Protection, that is, the security and governance of his dominions according to law, is the duty of the sovereign; and allegiance and subjection, with reference to the same criterion, the constitution and laws of the country, form, in return, the duty of the governed. We have already observed that the prerogatives are vested in him for the benefit of his subjects, and that his Majesty is under, and not above, the laws.
For such words to have meaning, the act of signing the Treaty of Nice by the foreign secretary demonstrates that ministers have de facto renounced their oaths of allegiance.
Indeed, faced in due course with a Bill seeking ratification of the Treaty of Nice, the only options appear to be for Her Majesty to dissolve Parliament, or for the government to resign and fight an election on the issue. The ex-government would then be faced with seeking elective power to introduce new oaths of loyalty under a new constitution as part of their new manifesto. This would distill the issues as perhaps nothing else might, since it would allow the people of the United Kingdom to decide whether or not they wished the constitution to be breached in this way, their rights and freedoms to be curtailed and the position, powers and responsibilities of their sovereign to be diminished.
Of course, for the many thousands of subjects who have supported our petition, no such option exists. As the Act of Supremacy and the Bill of Rights put it: all usurped and foreign power and authority may forever be clearly extinguished, and never used or obeyed in this realm. No foreign prince, person, prelate, state, or potentate shall at anytime after the last day of this session of Parliament, use, enjoy or exercise any manner of power, jurisdiction, superiority, authority, pre-eminence or privilege within this realm, but that henceforth the same shall be clearly abolished out of this realm, forever. So it is clear that no-one – neither sovereign, nor parliament, nor government, nor people – may tamper with, dismantle, destroy or surrender our constitution. We are all tenants of it, and trustees. We inherited these rights, and we have a supreme responsibility to pass them in good order to future generations. They are not ours to discard or diminish. Which is why oaths of allegiance place an essential limitation on parliament’s power, and the Queen’s Coronation Oath is crucial. The Coronation Oath is a moral obligation, a religious obligation, a sworn obligation, a contractual obligation, a statutory obligation, a common law obligation, a customary obligation, an obligation on all who swear allegiance, it is the duty of government, and it is sworn for the nation, the commonwealth and all dominions.
The Coronation Oath is the peak of a pyramid, and all subordinate oaths are bound by its limitations. The armed services swear allegiance to the sovereign, not to the government of the day. This helps clarify the principle that allegiance is necessary, and not optional – an essential part of the checks and balances of our constitution. Without these oaths, and their lawful enforcement, we have little to protect us from government by tyranny.
We return now to our reasons for stating that the Treaty of Nice is unconstitutional. Our petition highlights several such clauses. We draw particular attention to article 191, which seeks to restrict the political freedom of Her Majesty’s subjects.
The EU seeks to assume the right to lay down regulations governing political parties at European level [i.e.: in the EU] and withdraw or prevent the funding of political parties which do not contribute to forming a European awareness. This is a clear restriction of free speech and free political association. It also introduces two particularly abhorrent propositions – taxation without representation and the use of state sanctions to suppress public opinion.
Our political freedom is absolute. The Bill of Rights says so. It cannot be limited in any way. Her Majesty is rightfully inscribed on our coins of the realm as Fid. Def. and Lib. Def. – Liberatatis Defensor, Defender of the Freedom of the People.
It has been suggested to us that a referendum or plebiscite might be an acceptable response to the question of ratification of the Treaty of Nice, but we do not hold that view. A referendum or plebiscite which purported to make lawful the infringement of our common law rights would itself be unlawful. We come back to the oath of allegiance. Magna Carta says: 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 …. How can such officers of the Crown organize such a referendum or plebiscite?
These procedures would also infringe articles 1,2 and 4 of the Bill of Rights:
That the pretended power of Suspending of Lawes of the Execution of Lawes by Regal Authority without Consent of Parliament is illegal. (This must include the Coronation Oath Act.)
That the pretended Power of Dispensing with Lawes or the Execution of Lawes by Regal Authority as it hath been assumed and exercised of late is illegal.
That levying Money for or to the Use of the Crown by pretence of Prerogative without Grant of Parliament for longer time or in other manner than the same is or shall be granted is illegal. (This is further protection of our common law rights.) In the event that the Treaty of Nice is considered for Royal Assent we respectfully request that Her Majesty grant us an opportunity to examine the opinion of those who seek to alter our constitution by contrary advice. Accordingly, under those same terms of Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights quoted earlier, we the undersigned, and others – have formed a Barons Constitutional Committee to be available for consultation and to monitor the present situation as it develops .. until redress has been obtained.
We are and remain Her Majesty’s most loyal and obedient subjects.”
Ashbourne Rutland Massereene & Ferrard Hamilton of Dalzell
The Crown’s Reply
“I am commanded by The Queen to reply to your letter of 23rd March and the accompanying petition to Her Majesty about the Treaty of Nice.
The Queen continues to give this issue her closest attention.
She is well aware of the strength of feeling which European Treaties, such as the Treaty of Nice, cause. As a constitutional sovereign, Her Majesty is advised by her Government who support this Treaty. As I am sure you know, the Treaty of Nice cannot enter force until it has been ratified by all Member States and in the United Kingdom this entails the necessary legislation being passed by Parliament.”
– Robin Janvrin
Exhibit D: Magna Carta (1215), Full English Translation
Note: The Magna Carta is one document. Numbering and sectioning the document only occurred after it was sealed for the sake of readability. Therefore, if one clause of the Magna Carta has been invoked, all clauses have been invoked.
Know that for the sake of God and for the salvation of our soul and the souls of all our forebears and heirs, to the honour of God and the advancement of holy church, and the reform of our kingdom, by the counsel of our venerable fathers Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury, primate of all England and cardinal of the holy Roman church; Henry, archbishop of Dublin; Bishops William of London, Peter of Winchester, Joscelin of Bath and Glastonbury, Hugh of Lincoln, Walter of Worcester, William of Coventry and Benedict of Rochester; Master Pandulf, subdeacon and confidant of the lord pope, Brother Eymeric, master of the Knights Templar in England; and the noble men William Marshal, earl of Pembroke, William, earl of Salisbury, William, earl of Warenne, William, earl of Arundel, Alan of Galloway, constable of Scotland, Warin fitzGerold, Peter fitzHerbert, Hubert de Burgh, seneschal of Poitou, Hugh de Neville, Matthew fitzHerbert, Thomas Basset, Alan Basset, Philip d’Aubigny, Robert of Ropsley, John Marshal, John fitzHugh, and others of our subjects:
1. We have first of all granted to God, and by this our present charter confirmed, for ourselves and our heirs in perpetuity, that the English Church is to be free, and to have its full rights and its liberties intact, and we wish this to be observed accordingly, as may appear from our having of our true and unconstrained volition, before discord arose between us and our barons, granted, and by our charter confirmed, the freedom of elections which is deemed to be the English Church’s very greatest want, and obtained its confirmation by the lord pope Innocent III; which we will ourselves observe and wish to be observed by our heirs in good faith in perpetuity. And we have also granted to all the free men of our kingdom, for ourselves and our heirs in perpetuity, all the following liberties, for them and their heirs to have and to hold of us and our heirs.
2. If any of our earls or barons, or others holding in chief of us by knight service, shall die and his heir at his decease shall be of full age and owes a relief, he is to have his inheritance by the old relief: that is, for the heir or heirs of an earl £100 for the whole barony of the earl; the heir or heirs of a baron £100 for the whole barony; the heir or heirs of a knight 100 shillings at the most for a whole knight’s fee; and anyone owing less is to give less according to the ancient custom of fees.
3. If, however, the heir of any of the above shall be under age and in wardship, when he comes of age he is to have his inheritance without a relief and without a fine.
4. The guardian of the land of such an heir who is under age is not to take from the heir’s land more than reasonable issues, customs and services, and this without destruction and waste of either men or goods. And if we have committed the wardship of any such land to a sheriff or anyone else who ought to answer to us for its issues, and he shall inflict destruction or waste upon the wardship, we will take amends from him, and the land is to be entrusted to two law-abiding and discreet men of that fee, who are to answer for the issues to us or to the person to whom we have assigned them; and if we have given or sold to anyone the wardship of any such land, and he has destroyed or wasted it, he is to lose that wardship, which is to be entrusted to two law-abiding and discreet men of that fee, who likewise are to answer to us as aforesaid.
5. But as long as the guardian has the wardship of the land he is to maintain buildings, parks, fishponds, pools, mills and other things appertaining to the land, out of the issues of the same; and when the heir comes of age, he is to hand all his land over to him, stocked with ploughs and growing crops, according to what the agricultural season requires and the issues of the land can reasonably sustain.
6. Heirs are to be married without disparagement, provided that before the marriage is agreed upon the heir’s near kin are informed.
7. After the death of her husband a widow is to have her marriage portion and inheritance immediately and without difficulty, nor is she to give anything for her dower, or for her marriage portion, or for the inheritance which she and her husband held on the day of his death, and she may remain in her husband’s house for forty days after his death, during which she is to be assigned her dower.
8. No widow is to be distrained to marry while she wishes to live without a husband, as long as she gives security that she will not marry without our consent, if she holds of us, or without the consent of her lord of whom she holds, if she holds of someone else.
9. Neither we nor our bailiffs are to seize any land or rent for any debt, as long as the debtor’s chattels suffice to pay the debt. Nor are the debtor’s pledges to be distrained as long as the principal debtor has enough to pay the debt. And if the principal debtor defaults on the payment of the debt, not having the means to pay it, the pledges are to answer for it, and if they wish they are to have the debtor’s lands and rents until they have been satisfied for the debt which they previously paid for him, unless the principal debtor shows that he is quit with regard to the pledges.
10. If anyone has taken a loan from Jews, great or small, and dies before the debt is paid, the debt is not to incur interest for as long as the heir is under age, whoever he may hold from. And if the debt comes into our hands, we will take only the principal recorded in the charter.
11. And if anyone dies, and owes a debt to Jews, his wife is to have her dower and pay nothing towards that debt. And if there are surviving children of the deceased who are under age, their needs are to be provided for them in proportion to the dead man’s tenement, and the debt is to be paid from the residue, saving the service owed to the lords. Debts owed to others besides Jews are to be dealt with in like manner.
12. No scutage or aid is to be imposed in our kingdom except by the common counsel of our kingdom, unless for the ransoming of our person, and knighting of our first-born son, and for marrying, once, our first-born daughter, and for these only a reasonable aid is to be taken. Aids from the city of London are to be treated in like manner.
13. And the city of London is to have all its ancient liberties and free customs, both on land and water. Moreover we wish and grant that all other cities, boroughs, towns and ports are to have all their liberties and free customs.
14. And in order to have the common counsel of the kingdom for the levying of an aid, other than in the three instances aforesaid, or for the levying of scutage, we are to cause the archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls and greater barons to be summoned individually by our letters; and moreover we are to have a general summons made, through our sheriffs and bailiffs, of all who hold in chief of us; for a fixed day, at least forty days thence, and at a fixed place. And in all the letters of summons we are to set out its cause. And after the summons has thus been made the business is to go forward on the appointed day according to the counsel of those present, even if not all those summoned have come.
15. We are not to grant in future that anyone may take an aid from his free men, except for the ransoming of his person, and the knighting of his first-born son, and the marrying, once, of his first-born daughter, and for these there is to be only a reasonable aid.
16. No person is to be distrained to do more service for a knight’s fee, or for another free tenement, than is owed for it.
17. Common pleas are not to follow our court but are to be held in some fixed place.
18. Recognitions of novel disseisin, mort d’ancestor and darrein presentment are not to held except in the counties concerned, and in this manner: we, or our chief justiciar if we are outside the kingdom, are to send two justices through every county four times in the year, who with four knights of each county chosen by that county court, are to hear those assizes in the county court, and on the day and at the place of the meeting of the county court.
19. And if those assizes cannot be held on the day of the county court, as many knights and free tenants are to remain out of those who were present on that day of the county court [as are needed] for the sufficient making of judgments, according to whether the business is great or small.
20. A free man is not to be amerced for a small offence except in proportion to the nature of the offence, and for a great offence he is to be amerced in accordance with its magnitude, saving to him his livelihood, and a merchant in the same manner, saving to him his stock in trade, and a villein is to be amerced in the same manner, saving to him his growing crops, if they fall into our mercy. And none of the aforesaid amercements is to be imposed except by the oath of trustworthy men of the vicinity.
21. Earls and barons are not to be amerced except by their peers, and not except in proportion to the nature of the offence.
22. No cleric is to be amerced in respect of his free lay tenement, except in the same way as the others aforesaid, and without regard to the value of his ecclesiastical benefice.
23. Neither township nor man is to be distrained to make bridges over rivers, except those who should of old and rightfully do so.
24. No sheriff[s], constable[s], coroners or other of our bailiffs are to hold the pleas of our crown.
25. All counties, hundreds, wapentakes and ridings are to be at their old farms, without any increment, except for our demesne manors.
26. If anyone holding a lay fee of us dies, and the sheriff or a bailiff of ours shows our letters patent of summons for a debt which the dead man owed us, it is to be lawful for the sheriff or our bailiff to attach and record the chattels of the deceased found on the lay fee to the value of the debt, by the view of law-abiding men, so that nothing is to be removed thence, until the clear debt is paid to us; and the residue is to be relinquished to the executors to carry out the testament of the deceased; and if nothing is owed us by him, all the chattels are to go to the deceased, but reserving their rightful shares to his wife and children.
27. If any free man shall die intestate, his chattels are to be distributed by his nearest kinsmen on both sides of his family, under the supervision of the church, but saving to everyone the debts which the dead man owed him.
28. No constable or other bailiff of ours is to take anyone’s corn or other chattels, unless he pays cash for them immediately, or obtains respite of payment with the consent of the seller.
29. No constable is to distrain any knight to give money instead of performing castle-guard, if he is willing to perform that guard in person, or, if he is unable to do it for a satisfactory reason, through another reliable man. And if we have led or sent him in the army, he is to be quit of castle-guard in proportion to the time he is in the army at our behest.
30. No sheriff, or bailiff of ours, or anyone else is to take any free man’s horses or carts for transporting things, except with the free man’s consent.
31. Neither we nor our bailiffs are to take another man’s wood to a castle, or on other business of ours, except with the consent of the person whose wood it is.
32. We will hold the lands of those convicted of felony for only a year and a day, and then the lands are to be surrendered to the lords of the fees.
33. All fish-weirs are in future to be entirely removed from the Thames and the Medway, and throughout the whole of England, except on the sea-coast.
34. The writ called Praecipe is not in future to be issued to anyone for any tenement in respect of which a free man could lose his court.
35. There is to be one measure of wine throughout our kingdom, and one measure of ale, and one measure of corn, namely the quarter of London, and one breadth of dyed, russet and haberget cloths, that is, two ells within the borders; and let weights be dealt with as with measures.
36. Nothing is to be given or taken in future for a writ for an inquest concerning life or members, but it is to be given without payment and not denied.
37. If anyone holds of us by fee-farm, socage or burgage, and holds of someone else by knight service, we will not have the wardship of his heir, or of the land which forms part of the other man’s fee, by reason of that fee-farm, socage or burgage; nor will we have the wardship of that fee-farm, socage or burgage, unless the fee-farm owes knight service. We will not have the wardship of the heir, or of anyone’s land which he holds of someone else by knight service, by reason of some petty serjeanty which he holds of us by the service of rendering us knives or arrows and the like.
38. No bailiff is in future to put anyone to law by his accusation alone, without trustworthy witnesses being brought in for this.
39. No free man is to be arrested, or imprisoned, or disseised, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any other way ruined, nor will we go against him or send against him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.
40. We will not sell, or deny, or delay right or justice to anyone
41. All merchants are to be safe and secure in departing from and coming to England, and in their residing and movements in England, by both land and water, for buying and selling, without any evil exactions but only paying the ancient and rightful customs, except in time of war and if they come from the land against us in war. And if the latter are found in our land at the outbreak of war, they are to be attached without harm to their bodies and goods, until we or our chief justiciar know how merchants of our own land, who are then found in the land against us in war; are being treated, and if ours are safe there, the others are to be safe in our land.
42. It is to be lawful in future for every man to depart from our kingdom, and to return to it, safely and securely, by land and water, saving our allegiance, except in time of war for some short time, for the sake of the common utility of the kingdom, [and] excepting those imprisoned and outlawed according to the law of the kingdom, and people from the land against us in war, and merchants who are to be dealt with as aforesaid.
43. If anyone dies who held of any escheat, like the honour(s) of Wallingford, Nottingham, Boulogne, Lancaster, or of other escheats which are in our hand and are baronies, his heir is not to give any other relief, or to do us any other service, than he would have done to the baron if the barony was in the baron’s hand; and we will hold it in the same manner that the baron held it.
44. Men who reside outside the forest are not in future to come before our forest justices upon common summonses, unless they are involved in pleadings, or are the pledges of a person or persons who have been attached for forest business.
45. We will not appoint justices, constables, sheriffs or bailiffs except from such as know the law of the kingdom and are willing to keep it well.
46. All barons who have founded abbeys for which they have charters of the kings of England, or ancient tenure, are to have the custody of them when they are vacant, as they should have.
47. All the forests which have been afforested during our reign are to be disafforested immediately, and the same is to be done with regard to rivers which have been fenced off by us in our time.
48. All the evil customs relating to forests and warrens, foresters and warreners, sheriffs and their officers, rivers and their keepers, are to be immediately investigated in each county by twelve sworn knights of the same county, who should be chosen by upright men of the same county, and within forty days of the investigation being made, they are to be completely abolished by them, never to be revived, as long as we, or our justiciar if we are not in England, know about it beforehand.
49. We will immediately surrender all hostages and charters which have been handed over to us by Englishmen as security for peace or loyal service.
50. We will remove entirely the kinsmen of Gerard d’Athée from their bailiwicks, so that in future they may hold no bailiwick in England, [namely] Engelard de Cigogné, Peter, Guy and Andrew de Chanceaux, Guy de Cigogné, Geoffrey de Martigny and his brothers, Philip Marc, his brothers, and Geoffrey his nephew, and the whole of their brood.
51. And immediately after the restoration of peace we will remove from the kingdom all foreign knights, crossbowmen, serjeants and mercenaries, who have come with horses and arms to the detriment of the kingdom.
52. If anyone has been disseised or dispossessed by us, without lawful judgment of his peers, of lands, castles, liberties, or of his right, we will restore them to him immediately. And if dispute should arise concerning this, then it is to be dealt with by judgment of the twenty-five barons named below in the security for peace. But concerning all those things of which anyone was disseised or dispossessed, without lawful judgment of his peers, by King Henry our father or King Richard our brother, which we have in our hand, or which others hold and which we ought to warrant, we will have respite during the usual crusader’s term [of exemption], except for those matters over which a plea was begun or an inquest held on our orders before our taking of the cross. But when we have returned from our crusade, or if perchance we have stayed at home without going on crusade, we will then at once do full justice in such cases.
53. We will have the same respite, and in the same fashion, for doing justice concerning the disafforestation or retention of forests which Henry our father or Richard our brother afforested, and concerning wardships of lands which are part of another fee, wardships which up till now we have had by reason of a fee which someone held of us by knight tenure, and concerning abbeys which were founded on a fee other than our own, in which the lord of the fee has claimed his right. And when we have returned, or if we stay at home without going on our crusade, we will at once do full justice to those complaining of these things.
54. No man is to be arrested or imprisoned on account of a woman’s appeal for the death of anyone other than her own husband.
55. All fines which have been made with us unjustly and against the law of the land, and all amercements made unjustly and against the law of the land, are to be completely remitted, or dealt with by judgment of the twenty-five barons named below in the security for peace, or by judgment of the greater part of them, together with Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury, if he can attend, and others whom he may wish to convoke to act with him in this. And if he cannot attend, let the business nonetheless proceed without him. On condition, however, that if one or some of the aforesaid twenty-five barons are involved in such a plea, they are to be removed in respect of this judgment, and others chosen and sworn by the rest of the twenty-five to act in their place in this case only.
56. If we have disseised or dispossessed Welshmen of lands or liberties or anything else, without lawful judgment of their peers, in England or in Wales, they are to be returned to them at once. And if a dispute arises about this, then it is to be dealt with on the March by judgment of their peers – for English tenements according to the law of England, for Welsh tenements according to the law of Wales, for tenements in the March according to the law of the March. And the Welsh are to do the same for us and our men.
57. With regard, however, to all those possessions of which any Welshman was disseised or dispossessed without lawful judgment of his peers by King Henry our father or King Richard our brother, and which we have in our hand, or which others hold and which we ought to warrant, we will have a respite during the usual term [of exemption] of crusaders, except for those matters over which a plea was begun or an inquest held on our order before our taking the cross. But when we have returned, or if perchance we have stayed at home without going on crusade, then we will at once do full justice according to the law of Wales and of the parts aforesaid.
58. We will at once surrender the son of Llywelyn and all hostages from Wales, and the charters which were handed over to us as security for peace.
59. We will deal with Alexander, king of Scots, concerning the return of his sisters and hostages, and his liberties and right, in the same manner in which we deal with our other barons of England, unless it should be otherwise under the charters which we have from his father William, former king of Scots. And this will be by judgment of his peers in our court.
60. Moreover, all the aforesaid customs and liberties, which we have granted to be maintained in our kingdom as far as we are concerned with regard to our own men, all the men of our kingdom, both clergy and laity, are also to observe as far as they are concerned them with regard to their own men.
61. Moreover, since we have granted all these things aforesaid for the sake of God, and for the reform of our kingdom, and the better to still the discord arisen between us and our barons, wishing that these things be enjoyed with a whole and constant stability in perpetuity, we make and grant them the following security: to wit, that the barons are to choose twenty-five barons of the kingdom, whoever they wish, who should with all their strength observe, hold and cause to be observed the peace and liberties which we have granted them, and by this our present charter confirmed, so that if we, or our justiciar, or our bailiffs, or any of our officers shall in any way offend against anyone, or transgress against any of the articles of peace or security, and the offence has been shown to four of the aforesaid twenty-five barons, those four are to go to us, or to our justiciar if we shall be out of the kingdom, setting forth the transgression, and demand that we have it reformed without delay. And if we do not have the transgression rectified, or, if we are out of the kingdom, our justiciar has not done so, within the space of forty days, counting from the time it was shown to us, or to our justiciar if we were out of the kingdom, the four barons aforesaid are to refer the case to the rest of the twenty-five barons, and those twenty-five barons and the commune of the whole land will distrain and afflict us by every means possible, by taking castles, lands and possessions and in any other ways they can, until it is rectified in accordance with their judgment, albeit sparing our own person and the persons of our queen and children. And once the matter has been redressed let them submit to our authority as they did before. And whosoever of the land so wishes is to swear that as to executing all the above he will obey the orders of the twenty-five barons aforesaid, and that with them he will afflict us to the best of his ability, and we openly and freely give permission to swear to whoever wishes to do so, and we will never forbid anyone to swear. But all those of the land who are unwilling to swear individually and voluntarily to the twenty-five barons, to distrain and afflict us with them, we will make them swear by our order as aforesaid. And if any of the twenty-five barons dies, or departs from the land, or is prevented in any other way from being able to act as aforesaid, the remainder of the twenty-five are to choose another man in his place, as they see fit, who will be sworn in like manner as the rest. Moreover in everything which shall be entrusted to the twenty-five barons to carry out, if perchance the twenty-five are present and disagree among themselves over anything, or if any of them, being summoned, will not or cannot attend, what the majority of those who are present shall provide or instruct is to be deemed as determined and binding, as if all twenty-five had agreed to it. And the aforesaid twenty-five will swear that they will faithfully comply with all the aforesaid, and cause it to be upheld to the best of their ability. And we will seek to obtain nothing from anyone, in our own person or through someone else, whereby any of these grants or liberties may be revoked or diminished, and if any such thing be obtained, let it be void and invalid, and we will never make use of it, in our own person or through someone else.
62. And we have fully remitted and pardoned everyone all the ill will, indignation and resentment which has arisen between us and our men, clergy and laity, in the time of discord. Moreover we have fully remitted to all men, clergy and laity, and in so far as we are concerned fully pardoned, all the trespasses committed as a result of that discord from Easter in the sixteenth year of our reign until the reestablishment of peace. And moreover we have had letters patent made by Lord Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Henry, archbishop of Dublin, the aforesaid bishops, and Master Pandulf, testifying to this security and the aforesaid grants.
63. Wherefore we wish and firmly command that the English church be free, and that the men in our kingdom have and hold all the liberties, rights and grants aforesaid, well and in peace, freely and quietly, for themselves and their heirs, of us and our heirs, in all things and places, in perpetuity, as aforesaid. This has been sworn to both on our behalf and on that of the barons, that all these things named above will be observed in good faith and without evil intent. Witnesses as aforesaid, with many others. Given by our hand in the meadow called Runnymede, between Windsor and Staines, on the fifteenth day of June in the seventeenth year of our reign.
Exhibit E: Quotations
“Here is a law which is above the King and which even he must
not break. This reaffirmation of a supreme law and its expression
in a general charter is the great work of Magna Carta; and this
alone justifies the respect in which men have held it.”
– Sir Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of Britain 1940 – 1945, 1951 – 1955;
“The Great Charter is the first great public act of the nation, after
it has realised its own identity’ – ‘Thee whole constitutional
history of England is little more than a commentary on the Magna
– William Stubbs, Bishop of Oxford between 1866 and 1884;
“[Magna Carta is] the Bible of the English Constitution”.
– William Pitt, “The Elder”, Former British Prime Minister, 1766 – 1768;
“2015 is the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta, the single most important legal document in history. The foundation for global constitutions, commerce and communities. The anchor for the Rule of Law.”
– The Rt. Hon. Fiona Woolf C.B.E., Earls of Halsbury (1898 – 2010), September 2014
Halsbury’s Laws of England: “Magna Carta is as binding upon the Crown today as it was the day it was sealed at Runnymede.”
“The greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot.”
– Lord Denning, Master of the Rolls, Between 1962 – 1982