The King sends greeting to the sheriffs, the foresters, the warreners, the keepers of the rivers and to all his bailiffs. Know that peace has been restored between us and the barons and the freemen of our realm, through the grace of God.
You will have seen and heard of our charter which we made, and we order that this charter is kept firmly throughout the land according to the law. We strictly order that you make everyone under your jurisdiction swear an oath to the 25 barons mentioned in the charter. We also order that 12 knights from your county will investigate and put a stop to certain evil customs both relating to sheriffs and their officers as it is contained in the charter itself.
We order that, just as you love us and our honour, and the peace of Our Lord, you should observe everything contained in the charter without exceptions, and you should make the charter be observed by all, in case, God forbid, the peace of our realm should be disturbed once again.
You, our sheriffs, should proclaim our peace throughout our lands, and you should order that this peace should be firmly kept. And we send to you as a testimony to this business our letters patent. With me myself as a witness at Runnymede, on 19 June, in the 17th year of our reign.
This extract reveals that John had made peace with his rebel barons. He is sending out orders to his sheriffs, who represent him in the country, to enforce Magna Carta. The peace was in the form of a document which he accepted and became known as Magna Carta, or Great Charter. There is much debate about the importance of this Charter and whether it will last or be a fleeting agreement soon to be torn up.
Extract 1 from letters and grants of King John June 1215
The National Archives
A letter issued by John in June 1215 to the sheriffs of England.
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How many knights has King John ordered to investigate and put a stop to certain evil customs?
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Why does King John face rebellion?
- Is King John responsible for the rebellion?
- Are the barons responsible for the rebellion?
- It is the view of this chronicle that the great rebellion of 1215 has come about for the following reasons...