This is to make it known that our baron councillors, by common consent, and for the good of our realm, promise that they will always observe towards their subjects and their men the good laws and good customs which the king has promised to his subjects: and they have drawn up their charter stating this promise.
Since our lord the king desires justice to be fair and swift, we barons promise that any wrongs which we have done will be investigated and judged by the king or his officials.
In this most interesting document the great barons appear to be making a public promise that as well as forcing the king to follow the laws of the land and the rules of Magna Carta, the barons were promising that they would do exactly the same. The document seems to be designed to reassure people that even though the barons have gained power over the king, they promise to obey the laws of England.
Ordinance of the Magnates (great barons) published by Parliament in March 1259
The National Archives
What was an ‘ordinance’?
An ordinance was a law made by a council. In this case it was the council of barons.
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What have the barons promised?
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Yes! You’re quite right. The barons are promising that they too will obey the laws.
Why have the barons rebelled against Henry III?
- Is it because Simon de Montfort is an ambitious traitor who wants power for himself? Is he not really interested in the liberties granted by Magna Carta and is acting like a revolutionary dictator by seizing power?
- Or is it Henry who cannot be trusted? Has he ruled the kingdom badly and he is also trying to get out of commitments he has made to rule according to Magna Carta and the Provisions of Oxford?
- It is the view of this chronicle that the barons have rebelled against King Henry III because…