to the Editor
translation of Magna Carta as confirmed by Edward I with his seal
EDWARD by the grace of God, King of England, Lord of Ireland, and
Duke of Guyan, to all Archbishops, Bishops, etc. We have seen the
Great Charter of the Lord HENRY, sometimes King of England, our
father, of the Liberties of England, in these words: Henry by the
grace of God, King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy
and Guyan, and Earl of Anjou, to all Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots,
Priors, Earls, Barons, Sheriffs, Provosts, Officers, and to all
Bailiffs and other our faithful Subjects , which shall see this
present Charter, Greeting. Know ye that we, unto the honour of Almighty
God, and for the salvation of the souls of our progenitors and successors,
Kings of England, to the advancement of holy Church, and amendment
of our Realm, of our meer and free will, have given and granted
to all Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots, Priors, Earls, Barons, and
to all freemen of this our realm, these liberties following, to
be kept in our kingdom of England for ever.
First, We have granted to God, and by this our present Charter have
confirmed, for us and our Heirs for ever, That the Church of England
shall be free, and shall have her whole rights and liberties inviolable.
We have granted also, and given to all the freemen of our realm,
for us and our Heirs for ever, these liberties underwritten, to
have and to hold to them and their Heirs, of us and our Heirs for
If any of our Earls or Barons, or any other, which holdeth of Us
in chief by Knights service, shall die and at the time of his death
his heir be of full age, and oweth us Relief, he shall have his
inheritance by the old Relief; that is to say, the heir or heirs
of an Earl, for a whole Earldom, by one hundred pound; the heir
or heirs of a Baron, for an whole Barony, by one hundred marks;
the heir or heirs of a Knight, for one whole Knights fee, one hundred
shillings at the most; and he that hath less, shall give less, according
to the custom of the fees.
But if the Heir of any such be within age, his Lord shall not have
the ward of him, nor of his land, before that he hath taken him
homage. And after that such an heir hath been in ward (when he is
come of full age) that is to say, to the age of one and twenty years,
he shall have his inheritance without Relief, and without Fine;
so that if such an heir, being within age, be made Knight, yet nevertheless
his land shall remain in the keeping of his Lord unto the term aforesaid.
The keeper of the land of such an heir, being within age, shall
not take of the lands of the heir, but reasonable issues, reasonable
customs, and reasonable servics, and that without destruction and
waste of his men and goods. And if we commit the custody of any
such land to the Sheriff, or to any other, which is answerable unto
us for the issues of the same land, and he make destruction or waste
of those things that he hath in custody, we will take of him amends
and recompence therefore, and the land shall be committed to two
lawful and discreet men of that fee, which shall answer unto us
for the issues of the same land, or unto him whom we will assign.
And if we give or sell to any man the custody of any such land,
and he therein do make destruction or waste, he shall lose the same
custody; and it shall be assigned to two lawful and discreet men
of that fee, which also in like manner shall be answerable to us,
as afore is said.
The keeper, so long as he hath the custody of the land of such an
heir, shall keep up the houses, parks, warrens, ponds, mills, and
other things pertaining to the same land, with the issues of the
said land; and he shall deliver to the Heir, when he cometh to his
full age, all his land stored with ploughs, and all other things,
at the least as he received it. All these things shall be observed
in the custodies of the Archbishopricks, Bishopricks, Abbeys, Priories,
Churchs, and Dignities vacant, which appertain to us; except this,
that such custody shall not be sold.
Heirs shall be married without Disparagement.
A Widow, after the death of her husband, incontinent, and without
any Difficulty, shall have her marriage and her inheritance, and
shall give nothing for her dower, her marriage, or her inheritance,
which her husband and she held the day of the death of her husband,
and she shall tarry in the chief house of her husband by forty days
after the death of her husband, within which days her dower shall
be assigned her (if it were not assigned her before) or that the
house be a castle; and if she depart from the castle, then a competent
house shall be forthwith provided for her, in the which she may
honestly dwell, until her dower be to her assigned, as it is aforesaid;
and she shall have in the meantime her reasonable estovers of the
common; and for her do wer shall be assigned unto her the third
part of all the lands of her husband, which were his during coverture,
except she were endowed of less at the Church-door. No widow shall
be distrained to marry herself: nevertheless she shall find surety,
that she shall not marry without our licence and assent (if she
hold of us) nor without the assent of the Lord, if she hold of another.
We or our Bailiffs shall not seize any land or rent for any debt,
as long as the present Goods and Chattels of the debtor do suffice
to pay the debt, and the debtor himself be ready to satisfy therefore.
Neither shall the pledges of the debtor be dist rained, as long
as the principal debtor is sufficient for the payment of the debt.
And if the principal debtor fail in the payment of the debt, having
nothing wherewith to pay, or will not pay where he is able, the
pledges shall answer for the debt. And if they will, they shall
have the lands and rents of the debtor, until they be satished of
that which they before paid for him, except that the debtor can
show himself to be acquitted against the said sureties.
The city of London shall have all the old liberties and customs,
which it hath been used to have. Moreover we will and grant, that
all other Cities, Boroughs, Towns, and the Barons of the Five Ports,
and all other Ports, shall have all their liberties and free customs.
No man shall be distrained to do more service for a Knights fee,
nor any freehold, than therefore is due.
Common Pleas shall not follow our Court, but shall be holden in
some place certain.
Assises of novel disseisin, and of Mortdancestor, shall not be taken
but in the shires, and after this manner: If we be out of this Realm,
our chief Justicer shall send our Justicers through every County
once in the Year, which, with the Knights of the shires, shall take
the said Assises in those counties; and those things that at the
coming of our foresaid Justicers, being sent to take those Assises
in the counties, cannot be determined, shall be ended by them in
some other place in their circuit; and those things, which for difficulty
of some articles cannot be determined by them, shall be referred
to our Justicers of the Bench, and there shall be ended.
Assises of Darrein Presentment shall be alway taken before our Justices
of the Bench, and there shall be determined.
A Freeman shall not be amerced for a small fault, but after the
manner of the fault; and for a great fault after the greatness thereof,
saving to him his contenement; and a Merchant likewise, saving to
him his Merchandise; and any other's villain than ours shall be
likewise amerced, saving his wainage, if he falls into our mercy.
And none of the said amerciaments shall be assessed, but by the
oath of honest and lawful men of the vicinage. Earls and Barons
shall not be amerced but by their Peers, and after the manner of
their offence. No man of the Church shall be amerced after the quantity
of his spiritual Benefice, but after his Lay-tenement, and after
the quantity of his offence.
No Town or Freeman shall be distrained to make Bridges nor Banks,
but such as of old time and of right have been accustomed to make
them in the time of King Henry our Grandfather.
No Banks shall be defended from henceforth, but such as were in
defence in the time of King Henry our Grandfather, by the same places,
and the same bounds, as they were wont to be in his time.
No Sheriff, Constable, Escheator, Coroner, nor any other our Bailiffs,
shall hold Pleas of our Crown.
If any that holdeth of us Lay-fee do die, and our Sheriff or Bailiff
do show our Letters Patents of our summon for Debt, which the dead
man did owe to us; it shall be lawful to our Sheriff or Bailiff
to attach or inroll all the goods and chattels of the dead, being
found in the said fee, to the Value of the same Debt, by the sight
and testimony of lawful men, so that nothing thereof shall be taken
away, until we be clearly paid off the debt; and the residue shall
remain to the Executors to perform the testament of the dead; and
if nothing be owing unto us, all the chattels shall go to the use
of the dead (saving to his wife and children their reasonable parts).
No Constable, nor his Bailiff, shall take corn or other chattels
of any man, if the man be not of the Town where the Castle is, but
he shall forthwith pay for the same, unless that the will of the
seller was to respite the payment; and if he be of the same Town,
the price shall be paid unto him within forty days.
No Constable shall distrain any Knight to give money for keeping
of his Castle, if he himself will do it in his proper person, or
cause it to be done by another sufficient man, if he may not do
it himself for a reasonable cause. And if we lead or send him to
an army, he shall be free from Castle-ward for the time that he
shall be with us in fee in our host, for the which he hath done
service in our wars.
No Sheriff nor Bailiff of ours, or any other, shall take the Horses
or Carts of any man to make carriage, except he pay the old price
limited, that is to say, for carriage with two horse, x.d. a day;
for three horse, xiv.d. a day. No demesne Cart of any Spiritual
person or Knight, or any Lord, shall be taken by our Bailiffs; nor
we, nor our Bailiffs, nor any other, shall take any man's wood for
our Castles, or other our necessaries to be done, but by the licence
of him whose wood it shall be.
We will not hold the Lands of them that be convict of Felony but
one year and one day, and then those Lands shall be delivered to
the Lords of the fee.
All Wears from henceforth shall be utterly put down by Thames and
Medway, and through all England, but only by the Sea-coasts.
The Writ that is called Praecipe in capite shall be from henceforth
granted to no person of any freehold, whereby any freeman may lose
One measure of Wine shall be through our Realm, and one measure
of Ale, and one measure of Corn, that is to say, the Quarter of
London; and one breadth of dyed Cloth, Russets, and Haberjects,
that is to say, two Yards within the lists. And it shall be of Weights
as it is of Measures.
Nothing from henceforth shall be given for a Writ of Inquisition,
nor taken of him that prayeth Inquisition of Life, or of Member,
but it shall be granted freely, and not denied.
If any do hold of us by Fee-ferm, or by Socage, or Burgage, and
he holdeth Lands of another by Knights Service, we will not have
the Custody of his Heir, nor of his Land, which is holden of the
Fee of another, by reason of that Fee-ferm, Socage, or Burgage.
Neither will we have the custody of such Fee-ferm, or Socage, or
Burgage, except Knights Service be due unto us out of the same Fee-ferm.
We will not have the custody of the Heir, or of any Land, by occasion
of any Petit Serjeanty, that any man holdeth of us by Service to
pay a Knife, an Arrow, or the like.
No Bailiff from henceforth shall put any man to his open Law, nor
to an Oath, upon his own bare saying, without faithful Witnesses
brought in for the same.
No Freeman shall be taken, or imprisoned, or be disseised of his
Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled,
or any otherwise destroyed; nor will we pass upon him, nor condemn
him, but by lawful Judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the Land.
We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either
Justice or Right.
All Merchants (if they were not openly prohibited before) shall
have their safe and sure Conduct to depart out of England, to come
into England, to tarry in, and go through England, as well by Land
as by Water, to buy and sell without any manner of evil Tolts, by
the old and rightful Customs, except in Time of War. And if they
be of a land making War against us, and such be found in our Realm
at the beginning of the Wars, they shall be attached without harm
of body or goods, until it be known unto us , or our Chief Justice,
how our Merchants be intreated there in the land making War against
us; and if our Merchants be well intreated there, theirs shall be
likewise with us.
If any man hold of any Eschete, as of the honour of Wallingford,
Nottingham, Boloin, or of any other Eschetes which be in our hands,
and are Baronies, and die, his Heir shall give none other Relief,
nor do none other Service to us, than he should to the Baron, if
it were in the Baron's hand. And we in the same wise shall hold
it as the Baron held it; neither shall we have, by occasion of any
such Barony or Eschete, any Eschete or keeping of any of our men,
unless he that held the Barony or Eschete hold of us in chief.
No Freeman from henceforth shall give or sell any more of his Land,
but so that of the residue of the Lands the Lord of the Fee may
have the Service due to him, which belongeth to the Fee.
All Patrons of Abbies, which have the King's Charters of England
of Advowson, or have old Tenure or Possession in the same, shall
have the Custody of them when they fall void, as it hath been accustomed,
and as it is afore declared.
No Man shall be taken or imprisoned upon the Appeal of a Woman for
the Death of any other, than of her husband.
No County Court from henceforth shall be holden, but from Month
to Month; and where greater time hath been used, there shall be
greater: Nor any Sheriff, or his Bailiff, shall keep his Turn in
the Hundred but twice in the Year; and nowhere but in due place,
and accustomed; that is to say, once after Easter, and again after
the Feast of St. Michael. And the View of Frankpledge shall be likewise
at the Feast of St. Michael without occasion; so that every man
may have his Liberties which he had, or used to have, in the time
of King HENRY our Grandfather, or which he hath purchased since:
but the View of Frankpledge shall be so done, that our Peace may
be kept; and that the Tything be wholly kept as it hath been accustomed;
and that the Sheriff seek no Occasions, and that he be content with
so much as the Sheriff was wont to have for his Viewmaking in the
time of King HENRY our Grandfather.
It shall not be lawful from henceforth to any to give his Lands
to any Religious House, and to take the same Land again to hold
of the same House. Nor shall it be lawful to any House of Religion
to take the Lands of any, and to lease the same to him of whom he
received it. If any from henceforth give his Lands to any Religious
House, and thereupon be convict, the Gift shall be utterly void,
and the Land shall accrue to the Lord of the Fee.
Escuage from henceforth shall be taken like as it was wont to be
in the time of King HENRY our Grandfather; reserving to all Archbishops,
Bishops, Abbots, Priors, Templers, Hospitallers, Earls, Barons,
and all persons, as well Spiritual as Temporal, all their free liberties
and free Customs, which they have had in time passed. And all these
Customs and Liberties aforesaid, which we have granted to be holden
within this our Realm, as much as appertaineth to us and our Heirs,
we shall observe; and all Men of this our Realm, as well Spiritual
as Temporal (as much as in them is) shall observe the same against
all persons in like wise. And for this our Gift and Grant of these
Liberties, and of other contained in our Charter of Liberties of
our Forest, the Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots, Priors, Earls, Barons,
Knights, Freeholders, and other our Subjects, have given unto us
the Fifteenth Part of all their Moveables. And we have granted unto
them for us and our Heirs, that neither we, nor our Heirs shall
proc ure or do anything whereby the Liberties in this Charter contained
shall be infringed or broken; and if anything be procured by any
person contrary to the premisses, it shall be had of no force nor
effect. These being Witnesses; Lord B. Archbishop of Cant erbury,
E. Bishop of London, J. Bishop of Bathe, P. of Winchester, H. of
Lincoln, R. of Salisbury, W. of Rochester, W. of Worester, J. of
Ely, H. of Hereford, R. of Chichester, W. of Exeter, Bishops; the
Abbot of St. Edmunds, the Abbot of St. Albans, the Abbot of Bello,
the Abbot of St. Augustines in Canterbury, the Abbot of Evesham,
the Abbot of Westminster, the Abbot of Bourgh St. Peter, the Abbot
of Reading, the Abbot of Abindon, the Abbot of Malmsbury, the Abbot
of Winchcomb, the Abbot of Hyde, the Abbot of Certefey, the Abbot
of Sherburn, the Abbot of Cerne, the Abbot of Abbotebir, the Abbot
of Middleton, the Abbot of Seleby, the Abbot of Cirencester; H.
de Burgh Justice, H. Earl of Chester and Lincoln, W. Earl of Salisbury,
W. Earl of Warren, G. de Clare Earl of Gloucester and Hereford,
W. de Ferrars Earl of Derby, W. de Mandeville Earl of Essex, H.
de Bygod Earl of Norfolk, W. Earl of Albermarle, H. Earl of Hereford,
J. Constable of Chester, R. de Ros, R. Fitzwalter, R. de Vyponte,
W. de Bruer, R. de Muntefichet, P. Fitzherbert, W. de Aubenie, F.
Grefly, F. de Breus, J. de Monemue, J. Fitzallen, H. de Mortimer,
W. de Beauchamp, W. de St. John, P. de Mauly, Brian de Lisle, Thomas
de Multon, R. de Argenteyn, G. de Nevil, W. de Mauduit, J. de Balun,
ratifying and approving these Gifts and Grants aforesaid, confirm
and make strong all the same for us and our Heirs perpetually, and,
by the Tenour of these Presents, do renew the same; willing and
granting for us and our Heirs, that this Charter, and all and singular
his Articles, for ever shall be stedfastly, firmly, and inviolably
observed; although some Articles in the same Charter contained,
yet hitherto peradventure have not been kept, we will, and by Authority
Royal command, from henceforth firmly they be observed. In witness
whereof we have caused these our Letters Patents to be made. T.
EDWARD our Son at Westminster, the Twenty-eighth Day of March, in
the Twenty-eighth Year of our Reign.
Golden Rule | Mayflower Compact | Declaration of Independence | U.S. Constitution & Amendments | Bill of Rights | Emancipation Proclamation | National Motto | 13th Amendment | 14th Amendment | Privacy Act of 1974 | FOIA | Alaska Open Meetings | Thinking Man's Guide to Ballot Initatives | Defeating Bond Issues