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That is all there were ~ twenty-five Barons who stood against King John and his greediness and bloodthirstiness, and together they made an oath to enforce Magna Carta. That is why they are called the Surety Barons of Magna Carta.
But as always, the modern egocentric’s question is, “Who are these people, and what do they mean to me?” But the correct response is the holistic, “What is the purpose of Magna Carta?”
Though I am a member of the Magna Carta Project, at WikiTree that doesn’t mean I have all the answers, by any means. Even I had questions when I first became involved with the project. In my study of the Magna Carta and the Barons, I became intrigued by the story of Maud (Matilda) de St. Valerie, who was starved to death in a dungeon, together with her eldest grown son, because King John had learned of her remarks against him. Remarks mind you – not even deeds. There was a very great need for the law to cover not only the peasants, gentry, and Barons, but the King as well.
According to the Magna Carta Project at WikiTree.com:
“The purpose of the Magna Carta was to curb the King (John) and make him govern by the old English laws that had prevailed before the Norman came. The Magna Carta was a collection of 37 English laws – some copied, some remembered, some old, and some new.”
There are specific issues addressed in the Magna Carta as to freedoms for the Church to remain free from royal interference, especially in the matter of election of bishops; no taxes except fuedal dues , and anything over and above that must have consent of the Great Council or Parliament. Everyone was to be afforded due process and trial by jury, and weights and measures were to be standardized “throughout the realm.”
“AND WHY IS THIS?” YOU MAY ASK
King John in 1205 quarreled with then Pope Innocent III about who should be Archbishop of Canterbury. King John would not allow the Pope’s representative to set foot in England, and for this the King was excommunicated. This was a bit harsh, even for King John, and he later made amends. However, the Pope continued to demand money of the King and his people. But King John’s answer, in order to pay these and other demands, was to levy taxes that were exorbitant , and extortionate . His reprisals against defaulters were ruthless and his idea of justice was avaricious .
One of King John’s acts to regain lost lands of Aquitaine, Poitou and Anjou was to tax the Barons. A bitter quarrel broke out over the methods used to levy those taxes. It was then the Barons realized other ways had to be considered in order to curb the King and to force him to govern his people by the old ways, the “old English laws” that were in place prior to 1066 .
When all else failed, the Barons went to war against King John, and captured London in May 1215. By June of that year they took King John by surprise at Windsor and forced him to a meeting at Runnymede. King John signed and sealed the Magna Carta on June 10, 1215. The Barons signed their own agreement to enforce it.
And then… King John waged war against the Barons…
In the Next edition of the
Magna Carta Project here at the Ginger Jar:
“Who are the Magna Carta Gateway Ancestors?”
• Encarta Dictionary: English (North America). Released: 05/16/2013; Accessed 18 September 2014. Source URL: http://www.fileheap.com/dbquery/1/encarta+dictionary+english+north+america
• The Magna Carta Project. @WikiTree.com. Source URL http://www.wikitree.com/
• Maud (Matilda) de Braose. @Wikipedia. Accessed 30 January 2015.
• Maud de Saint Valery. Find a Grave. Accessed January 30, 2015. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=86930058
Site of Interest: Official Website for the 800th Anniversary of Magna Carta http://magnacarta800th.com/