John, by the grace of God King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and Count of Anjou, to his archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, barons, justices, and all his officials and loyal subjects, Greeting.
Know that before God, to the honour of God, the exaltation of the holy Church, and the better ordering of our kingdom, at the advice of our reverend fathers Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury, primate of all England, and cardinal of the holy Roman Church, Henry archbishop of Dublin, William bishop of London, Peter bishop of Winchester, Jocelin bishop of Bath and Glastonbury, Hugh bishop of Lincoln, Walter Bishop of Worcester, William bishop of Coventry, Benedict bishop of Rochester, Master Pandulf subdeacon and member of the papal household, Brother Aymeric master of the knighthood of the Temple in England, William Marshal earl of Pembroke, William earl of Salisbury, William earl of Warren, William earl of Arundel, Alan de Galloway constable of Scotland, Warin Fitz Gerald, Peter Fitz Herbert, Hubert de Burgh seneschal of Poitou, Hugh de Neville, Matthew Fitz Herbert, Thomas Basset, Alan Basset, Philip Daubeny, Robert de Roppeley, John Marshal, John Fitz Hugh, and other loyal subjects.
I thought that it might be useful to look at the introduction to see which barons and churchmen were present when John accepted the Charter. You will notice that the bishops and churchmen are listed before the earls and barons. This should tell you something about the importance of the Church and the need that both king and barons had for its support.
Magna Carta June 1215
Test your understanding
Which constable of Scotland was present when John accepted the ‘Great Charter’?
That's the wrong answer I'm afraid... Why don't you listen to the transcript again?
Excellent! Yes, it was Alan de Galloway
Will Magna Carta bring peace and freedom?
- Is Magna Carta simply a collection of complaints and grumbles by the barons which will only have benefits for them?
- Is Magna Carta more than this? Is it an important statement of key principles about how the king can rule and will have benefits for everyone in England?
- Will this document be long lasting and bring about peace and freedom, or will King John will find a way out of it?