The Magna Carta remains one of the most important documents ever signed in British history. It’s likely to be something most of us have learned about at school at any given time! Essentially, the Magna Carta helped to deliver rights and liberties to the people of Britain. Without it, we may be in a very different position now! But what else should you know about this crucial, historic document? Why is it so important in the modern age, despite it having been signed in the 1200s? Let’s take a closer look with these interesting facts about the Magna Carta:
The Magna Carta was officially signed by King John in June 1212. It is a legal document which protects basic human rights and liberties.
In fact, the Magna Carta’s worth is well-known all over the world. It is thought that this bill of liberties may have helped to inspire the drawing of the initial US Constitution.
The Magna Carta offered up around 63 different clauses, in legal terms, which King John was required to agree to and sign.
However, surprisingly enough, only three of these protections are still in place today. That is thanks to an ever-evolving human rights and legal system. While the Magna Carta may not have a firm place in modern society the way it may have done in the 13th Century, it has done much to inspire the nation’s lawmakers.
The three laws which remain from the Magna Carta include those which protect the capital or London, fair trial rights, and the Church of England’s freedom to operate.
The Magna Carta is an important document, though it is not the first bill or legal issue of its kind. In fact, there had been a full Coronation Charter drafted by King Henry I in 1100, some 100 plus years before. This Charter was a declaration from the King that he would give more freedom to the Church, and that he would be a fair ruler.
However, the Magna Carta was brought in to offer more extensive protections to the people. Human rights laws over the world offer it a great deal of debt in terms of inspiration!
It’s tempting to assume that the Magna Carta is one single document. However, copies of the document were dispatched across the country in 1215. This will have been a painstaking process, as it was naturally written by hand.
Believe it or not, some of the original copies of the Magna Carta still survive to this day. You can actually see four of them on display across the UK. If you head to Lincoln Cathedral, Salisbury Cathedral, and the British Library, you’re sure to see an original copy of the Magna Carta for yourself. Incredible!
King John’s taxation demands forced his people to draw up the Magna Carta in the first place. Following a series of issues in leadership, the King found himself strong-armed into signing after he demanded more taxpayer money so that he could continue invading France. For the most part, these invasions didn’t seem to go down too well!
Winston Churchill apparently tried to urge Lincoln Cathedral to move their copy of the Magna Carta to the US in an effort to build bridges during World War II. However, as stated, only one of four copies of the document remains in the Cathedral to this day – meaning Churchill wasn’t 100% successful in his attempts.
History suggests that King John – hardly a popular monarch – in fact violated some of the terms of the original Magna Carta three months in. It wasn’t until King Henry III ascended to the throne that a monarch would make the effort to update and stand by the laws in writ. Henry III produced a new version in 1225.
Believe it or not, the original Magna Carta wasn’t written in English. It was written in Latin! There wouldn’t be an English version or translation until the 16th Century.
In fact, the original Magna Carta was nullified by 1215, thanks to the intervention of Pope Innocent III. However, it is the image and symbolism of the document that have continued to inspire human rights legislation all over the world.
Do you know any interesting facts about the Magna Carta that we’ve missed out? Share them here in the comments section below!