The Earl Marshal (Roger Bigod) and the Earl of Hereford (Humphrey de Bohun) and several others wish to express, on behalf of all the community of the realm, great concern about the recent raising of taxes by the king.
In the orders that have been issued for collecting taxation on both property and wool, it is written that the taxation has been agreed by the earls and barons, knights and the community of realm. Yet we contend that the taxation has never been agreed.
Furthermore, the community say that if they are taxed at the will of king and without being consulted, they are no greater than a man of servitude. If the tax went ahead, it would diminish their rights, and cause the disinheritance of their heirs.
They also say that such a tax on property and wool as the king proposes would not be tolerable, nor would they tolerate it in any manner.
In this document the noble barons Roger and Humphrey are expressing the concerns that many have expressed. It is not just the amount of tax that the king was demanding but the way he had brought the tax in — he had not consulted Parliament and the barons to get their agreement. And there is much debate here about whether Parliament is becoming an important force in the running of the country.
Statement of barons Roger Bigod and Humphrey de Bohun August 1297
The National Archives
Test your understanding
What does the king wish to raise the taxation of?
Not quite... Go back to the document and study it in a bit more detail... Don’t forget to listen to the transcript...
Great answer... You’re right of course! The barons are unhappy because the king wishes to raise the taxation of property and wool.
Why does a great and terrible king need Magna Carta?
- Has Edward only re-issued Magna Carta because he needs money for his wars against France, Scotland and Wales?
- Or, once again, are the barons are simply trying to get out of paying the taxes which are needed to run and protect England?
- It is the view of this chronicle that Edward had re-issued Magna Carta because…
- Is it?