Published on January 21st, 2015 | by admin
Marking 800 Years Since The Magna Carta Was Issued
When it comes to recalling some of the most poignant moments in British history, the issuing of the Magna Carta by King John some 800 years ago is certainly amongst them, symbolising the resistance to the arbitrary use of power.
Meaning ‘The Great Charter’, the Magna Carta was agreed by King John at Runnymede near Windsor in June 1215 to address the political crisis that existed at that time as the King and the rebel barons were in conflict. It marked the end of unlimited power for the monarchy in rule and the principle that everybody should be treated the same under English law.
Acknowledged as one of the most famous documents in the world, many of the contents of the Magna Carta remain relevant to the British constitution right to this day. What’s more the Magna Carta is actually recognised far beyond these shores as having shaped governance in countries around the world.
But just why is the Magna Carta recognised as such an important document you might ask? We learn that as well as influencing the early settlers in New England, the Magna Carta containing 63 clauses also inspired later constitutional documents including the United Bill of Rights which was published in 1791.
In more recent times, the Magna Carta was also seen as significant in shaping the contents of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the European Convention on Human Rights (1950).
Amongst the poignant principles contained within the Magna Carta is the 39th clause which gave all ‘free men’ the right to justice and a fair trial.
What’s more, a number of events and exhibitions are earmarked to coincide with the 800 anniversary since the issue of the Magna Carta. Amongst these, the four remaining manuscripts will be on public display at the House of Lords on 5th February for one day only. Two of the four remaining manuscripts are usually kept at the British Library with one each also held at Lincoln and Salisbury Cathedrals.