John, by the grace of God, king of England, lord of Ireland, duke of
Normandy and Aquitaine, and count of Anjou, to the archbishops, bishops,
abbots, earls, barons, justiciars, foresters, sheriffs, stewards,
servants, and to all his bailiffs and faithful subjects, greeting. Know
that we, out of reverence for God and for the salvation of our soul and
those of all our ancestors and heirs, for the honour of God and the
exaltation of holy church, and for the reform of our realm, on the
advice of our venerable fathers, Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury,
primate of all England and cardinal of the holy Roman church, Henry
archbishop of Dublin, William of London, Peter of Winchester, Jocelyn of
Bath and Glastonbury, Hugh of Lincloln, Walter of Worcester, Willian of
Coventry and Benedict of Rochester, bishops, of master Pandulf,
subdeacon and member of the household of the lord pope, of brother
Aymeric, master of the order of Knights Templar in England, and of the
noble men William Marshal earl of Pembroke, William earl of Salisbury,
William earl of Warrenne, William earl of Arundel, Alan of Galloway
constable of Scotland, Warin fitz Gerold, Peter fitz Herbert, Hubert de
Burgh seneschal of Poitou, Hugh de Neville, Matthew fitz Herbert, Thomas
Basset, Alan Basset, Philip de Aubeney, Robert of Ropsley, John Marshal,
John fitz Hugh, and others our faithful subjects:
 In the first place have granted to God, and by this our present
charter confirmed for us and our heirs for ever that the English church
shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished and its liberties
unimpaired; and it is our will that it be thus observed; which is
evident from the fact that, before the quarrel between us and our barons
began, we willingly and spontaneously granted and by our charter
confirmed the freedom of elections which is reckoned most important and
very essential to the English church, and obtained comfirmation of it
from the lord pope Innocent III; the which we will observe and we wish
our heirs to observe it in good faith for ever. We have also granted to
all free men of our kingdom, for ourselves and our heirs for ever, all
the liberties written below, to be had and held by them and their heirs
of us and our heirs.
 If any of our earls or barons or others holding of us in chief by
knight service dies, and at his death his heir be of full age and owe
relief he shall have his inheritance on payment of the old relief,
namely the heir or heirs of an earl L 100 for a whole earl's barony, the
heir or heirs of a baron L 100 for a whole barony, the heir or heirs of
a knight 100s, at most, for a whole knight's fee; and he who owes less
shall give less according to the ancient usage of fiefs.
 If, however, the heir of any such be under age and a ward, he shall
have his inheritance when he comes of age without paying relief and
without making fine.
 The guardian of the land of such an heir who is under age shall
take from the land of the heir no more that reasonable revenues,
reasonable customary dues and reasonable services and that without
destruction and waste of men or goods; and if we commit the wardship of
the land of any such to a sheriff, or to any other who is answerable to
us for its revenues, and he destroys or wastes what he has wardship of,
we will take compenstation from him and the land shall be committed to
two lawful and discreet men of that fief, who shall be answerable for
the revenues to us or to him to whom we shall have assigned them; and if
we give or sell to anyone the wardship of any such land and he causes
destruction or waste therein, he shall lose that wardship, and it shall
be transferred to two lawful and discreet men of that fief, who shall
similarly be answerable to us as is aforesaid.
 Moreover, so long as he has the wardship of the land, the guardian
shall keep in repair the houses, parks, preserves, ponds, mills and
other things pertaining to the land out of the revenues from it; and he
shall restore to the heir when he comes of age his land fully stocked
with ploughs and the means of husbandry according to what the season of
husbandry requires and the revenues of the land can reasonably bear.
 Heirs shall be married without disparagement, yet so that before
the marriage is contracted those nearest in blood to the heir shall have
 A widow shall have her marriage portion and inheritance forthwith
and without difficulty after the death of her husband; nor shall she pay
anything to have her dower or her marriage portion or the inheritance
which she and her husband held on the day of her husband's death; and
she may remain in her husband's house for forty days after his death,
within which time her dower shall be assigned to her.
 No widow shall be forced to marry so long as she wishes to live
without a husband, provided that she gives security not to marry without
our consent if she holds of us, or without the consent of her lord of
whom she holds, if she holds of another.
 Neither we nor our bailiffs will seize for any debt any land or
rent, so long as the chattels of the debtor are sufficient to repay the
debt; nor will those who have gone surety for the debtor be distrained
so long as the principal debtor is himself able to pay the debt; and if
the principal debtor fails to pay the debt, having nothing wherewith to
pay it, then shall the sureties answer for the debt; and they shall, if
they wish, have lands and rents of the debtor until they are reimbursed
for the debt which they have paid for him, unless the principal debtor
can show that he has discharged his obligation in the matter to the said
 If anyone who has borrowed from the Jews any sum, great or small,
dies before it is repaid, the debt shall not bear interest as long as
the heir is under age, of whomsoever he holds; and if the debt falls
into our hands, we will not take anything except the principal mentioned
in the bond.
 And if anyone dies indebted to the Jews, his wife shall have her
dower and pay nothing of that debt; and if the dead man leaves children
who are under age, they shall be provided with necessaries befitting the
holding of the deceased; and the debt shall be paid out of the residue,
reserving, however, service due to lords of the land; debts owing to
others than Jews shall be dealt with in like manner.
 No scutage or aid shall be imposed in our kingdom unless by common
counsel of our kingdom, except for ransoming our person, for making our
eldest son a knight, and for once marrying our eldest daughter; and for
these only a reasonable aid shall be levied. Be it done in like manner
concerning aids from the city of London.
 And the city of London shall have all its ancient liberties and
free customs as well by land as by water. Furthermore, we will and
grant that all other cities, boroughs, towns, and ports shall have all
their liberties and free customs.
 And to obtain the common counsel of the kingdom about the
assessing of an aid (except in the three cases aforesaid) or of a
scutage, we will cause to be summoned the archbishops, bishops, abbots,
earls and greater barons, individually by our letters -- and, in
addition, we will cause to be summoned generally through our sheriffs
and bailiffs all those holding of us in chief -- for a fixed date,
namely, after the expiry of at least forty days, and to a fixed place;
and in all letters of such summons we will specify the reason for the
summons. And when the summons has thus been made, the business shall
proceed on the day appointed, according to the conusel of thse present,
though not all have come who were summoned.
 We will not in future grant any one the right to take an aid from
his free men, except for ransoming his person, for making his eldest son
a knight and for once marrying his eldest daughter, and for these only a
resonable aid shall be levied.
 No one shall be compelled to do greater service for a knight's fee
or for any other free holding than is due from it.
 Common pleas shall not follow our court, but shall be held in some
 Recognitions of novel disseisin, of mort d ancester, and of
darrein presentment, shall not be held elsewhere than in the counties to
which they relate, and in this manner -- we, or, if should be out of the
realm, our chief justiciar, will send two justices through each county
four times a year, who, with four knights of each county chosen by the
county, shall hold the said assizes in the county and on the day and in
the place of meeting of the county court.
 And if the said assizes cannot all be held on the day of the
county court, there shall stay behind as many of the knights and
freeholders who were present at the county court on that day as are
necessary for the sufficient making of judgements, according to the
amount of business to be done.
 A free man shall not be amerced for a trivial offence except in
accordance with the degree of the offence, and for a grave offence he
shall be amerced in accordance with its gravity, yet saving his way of
living; and a merchant in the same way, saving his stock-in-trade; and a
villein shall be amerced in the same way, saving his means of livelihood
-- if they have fallen into our mercy: and none of the aforesaid
amercements shall be imposed except by the oath of good men of the
 Earls and barons shall not be amerced except by their peers, and
only in accordance with the degree of the offence.
 No clerk shall be amerced in respect of his lay holding except
after the manner of the others aforesaid and not according to the amount
of his ecclesiastical benefice.
 No vill or individual shall be comelled to make bridges at river
banks, except those who from of old are legally bound to do so.
 No sheriff, constable, coroners, or others of our bailiffs, shall
hold pleas of our crown.
 All counties, hundreds, wapentakes and trithings shall be at the
old rents without any additional payment, except our demesne manors.
 If anyone holding a lay fief of us dies and our sheriff or bailiff
shows our letters patent of summons for a debt that the deceased owed
us, it shall be lawful for our sheriff or bailiff to attach and make a
list of chattels of the deceased found upon the lay fief to the value of
that debt under the supervision of law-worthy men, provided that none of
the chattels shall be removed until the debt which is manifest has been
paid to us in full; and the residue shall be left to the executors for
carrying out the will of the deceased. And if nothing is owing to us
from him, all the chattels shall accrue to the deceased, saving to his
wife and children their reasonable shares.
 If any free man dies without leaving a will, his chattels shall be
distributed by his nearest kinsfolk and friends under the supervision of
the church, saving to every one the debts which the deceased owed him.
 No constable or other bailiff of ours shall take anyone's corn or
other chattels unless he pays on the spot in cash for them or can delay
payment by arrangement with the seller.
 No constable shall compel any knight to give money instead of
castle-guard if he is willing to do the guard himself or through another
good man, if for some good reason he cannot do it himself; and if we
lead or send him on military service, he shall be excused guard in
proportion to the time that because of us he has been on service.
 No sheriff, or bailiff of ours, or anyone else shall take the
horses or carts of any free man for transport work save with the
agreement of that freeman.
 Neither we nor our bailiffs will take, for castles or other works
of ours, timber which is not ours, except with the agreement of him
whose timber it is.
 We will not hold for more than a year and a day the lands of those
convicted of felony, and then the lands shall be handed over to the
lords of the fiefs.
 Henceforth all fish-weirs shall be cleared completely from the
Thames and the Medway and throughout all England, except along the sea
 The writ called Praecipe shall not in future be issued to anyone
in respect of any holding whereby a free man may lose his court.
 Let there be one measure for wine throughout our kingdom, and one
measure for ale, and one measure for corn, namely "the London quarter";
and one width for cloths whether dyed, russet or halberget, namely two
ells within the selvedges. Let it be the same with weights as with
 Nothing shall be given or taken in future for the writ of
inquisition of life or limbs: instead it shall be granted free of
charge and not refused.
 If anyone holds of us by fee-farm, socage, or by burgage, and
holds lands of another by knight service, we will not, by reason of that
fee-farm, socage, or burgage, have the wardship of his heir or of land
of his that is of the fief of the other; nor will we have custody of the
fee-farm, socage, or burgage, unless such fee-farm owes knight service.
We will not have custody of anyone's heir or land which he holds of
another by knight service by reason of any petty serjeanty which he
holds of us by the service of rendering to us knives or arrows or the
 No bailiff shall in future put anyone to trial upon his own bare
word, without reliable witnesses produced for this purpose.
 No free man shall be arrested or imprisoned or disseised or
outlawed or exiled or in any way victimised, neither will we attack him
or send anyone to attack him, except by the lawful judgement of his
peers or by the law of the land.
 To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay right or
 All merchants shall be able to go out of and come into England
safely and securely and stay and travel throughout England, as well by
land as by water, for buying and selling by the ancient and right
customs free from all evil tolls, except in time of war and if they are
of the land that is at war with us. And if such are found in our land
at the beginning of a war, they shall be attached, without injury to
their persons or goods, until we, or our chief justiciar, know how
merchants of our land are treated who were found in the land at war with
us when war broke out, and if ours are safe there, the others shall be
safe in our land.
 It shall be lawful in future for anyone, without prejudicing the
allegiance due to us, to leave our kingdom and return safely and
securely by land and water, save, in the public interest, for a short
period in time of war -- except for those imprisoned or outlawed in
accordance with the law of the kingdom and natives of a land that is at
war with us and merchants (who shall be treated as aforesaid).
 If anyone who holds of some escheat such as the honour of
Wallingford, Nottingham, Boulogne, Lancaster, or of other escheats which
are in our hands and are baronies dies, his heir shall give no other
relief and do no other service to us than he would have done to the
baron if that barony had been in the baron's hands; and we will hold it
in the same manner in which the baron held it.
 Men who live outside the forest need not henceforth come before
our justices of the forest upon a general summons, unless they are
impleaded or are sureties for any person or persons who are attached for
 We will not make justices, constables, sheriffs or bailiffs save
of such as know the law of the kingdom and mean to observe it well.
 All barons who have founded abbeys for which they have charters of
the kings of England or ancient tenure shall have the custody of them
during vacancies, as they ought to have.
 All forests that have been made forest in our time shall be
immediately disafforested; and so be it done with riverbanks that have
been made preserves by us in our time.
 All evil customs connected with forests and warrens, foresters and
warreners, sheriffs and their officials, riverbanks and their wardens
shall immediately be inquired into in each county by twelve sworn
knights of the same county who are to be chosen by good men of the same
county, and within forty days of the completion of the inquiry shall be
utterly abolished by them so as never to be restored, provided that we,
or our justiciar if we are not in England, know of it first.
 We will immediately return all hostages and charters given to us
by Englishmen, as security for peace or faithful service.
 We will remove completely from office the relations of Gerard de
Athee so that in future they shall have no office in England, namely
Engelard de Cigogne, Peter and Guy and Andrew de Chanceaux, Guy de
Cigogne, Geoffrey de Martigny and his brothers, Philip Marc and his
brothers and his nephew Geoffrey, and all their following.
 As soon as peace is restored, we will remove from the kingdom all
foreign knights, cross-bowmen, serjeants, and mercenaries, who have come
with horses and arms to the detriment of the kingdom.
 If anyone has been disseised of or kept out of his lands, castles,
franchises or his right by us without the legal judgement of his peers,
we will immediately restore them to him; and if a dispute arises over
this, then let it be decided by the judgment of the twenty-five barons
who are mentioned below in the clause for securing the peace; for all
the things, however, which anyone has been disseised or kept out of
without the lawful judgement of his peers by king Henry, our father, or
by king Richard, our brother, which we have in our hand or are held by
others, to whom we are bound to warrant them, we will have the usual
period of respite of crusaders, excepting those thing about which a plea
was started or an inquest made by our command before we took the cross;
when however we return from our pilgrimage, or if by any chance we do
not go on it, we will at once do full justice therein.
 We will have the same respite, and in the same manner, in the
doing of justice in the matter of the disafforesting or retaining of the
forests which Henry our father or Richard our brother afforested, and in
the matter of the wardship of lands which are of the fief of another,
wardships of which sort we have hitherto had by reason of a fief which
anyone held of us by knight service, and in the matter of abbeys founded
on the fief of another, not on a fief of our own, in which the lord of
the fief claims he has a right; and when we have returned, or if we do
not set out on our pilgrimage, we will at once do full justice to those
who complain of these things.
 No one shall be arrested or imprisoned upon the appeal of a woman
for the death of anyone except her husband.
 All fines made with us unjustly and against the law of the land,
and all amercements imposed unjustly and against the law of the land,
shall be entirely remitted, or else let them be settled by the judgment
of the twenty-five barons who are mentioned below in the clause for
securing the peace, or by the judgment of the majority of the same,
along with the aforesaid Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury, if he can be
present, and such others as he may wish to associate with himself for
this purpose, and if he cannot be present the business shall
nevertheless proceed without him, provided that if any one or more of
the aforesaid twenty-five barons are in a like suit, they shall be
removed from the judgment of the case in question, and others chosen,
sworn and put in their place by the rest of the same twenty-five for
this case only.
 If we have disseised or kept out Welshmen from lands or liberties
or other things without the legal judgment of their peers in England or
in Wales, they shall be immediately restored to them; and if a dispute
arises over this, then let it be decided in the March by the judgment of
their peers -- for holdings in England according to the law of England,
for holdings in Wales according to the law of Wales, and for holdings in
the March according to the law of the March. Welshmen shall do the same
to us and ours.
 For all the things, however, which any Welshman was disseised of
or kept out of without the lawful judgment of his peers by king Henry,
our father, or king Richard, our brother, which we have in our hand or
which are held by others, to whom we are bound to warrant them, we will
have the usual period of respite of crusaders, excepting those things
about which a plea was started or an inquest made by our command before
we took the cross; when however we return, or if by any chance we do not
set out on our pilgrimage, we will at once do full justice to them in
accordance with the laws of the Welsh and the foresaid regions.
 We will give back at once the son of Llywelyn and all the hostages
from Wales and the charters that were handed over to us as security for
 We will act toward Alexander, king of the Scots, concerning the
return of his sisters and hostages and concerning his franchises and his
right in the same manner in which we act towards our other barons of
England, unless it ought to be otherwise by the charters which we have
from William his father, formerly king of the Scots, and this shall be
determined by the judgment of his peers in our court.
 All these aforesaid customs and liberties which we have granted to
be observed in our kingdom as far as it pertains to us towards our men,
all of our kingdom, clerks as well as laymen, shall observe as far as it
pertains to them towards their men.
 Since, moreover, for God and the betterment of our kingdom and for
the better allaying of the discord that has arisen between us and our
barons we have granted all these things aforesaid, wishing them to enjoy
the use of them unimpaired and unshaken for ever, we give and grant them
the under-written security, namely, that the barons shall choose any
twenty-five barons of the kingdom they wish, who must with all their
might observe, hold and cause to be observed, the peace and liberties
which we have granted and confirmed to them by this present charter of
ours, so that if we, or our justiciar, or our bailiffs or any one of our
servants offend in any way against anyone or transgress any of the
articles of the peace or the security and the offence be notified to
four of the aforesaid twenty-five barons, those four barons shall come
to us, or to our justiciar if we are out of the kingdom, and, laying the
transgression before us, shall petition us to have that transgression
corrected without delay. And if we do not correct the transgression, or
if we are out of the kingdom, if our justiciar does not correct it,
within forty days, reckoning from the time it was brought to our notice
or to that of our justiciar if we were out of the kingdom, the aforesaid
four barons shall refer that case to the rest of the twenty-five barons
and those twenty-five barons together with the community of the whole
land shall distrain and distress us in every way they can, namely, by
seizing castles, lands, possessions, and in such other ways as they can,
saving our person and the persons of our queen and our children, until,
in their opinion, amends have been made; and when amends have been made,
they shall obey us as they did before. And let anyone in the land who
wishes take an oath to obey the orders of the said twenty-five barons
for the execution of all the aforesaid matters, and with them to
distress us as much as he can, and we publicly and freely give anyone
leave to take the oath who wishes to take it and we will never prohibit
anyone from taking it. Indeed, all those in the land who are unwilling
of themselves and of their own accord to take an oath to the twenty-five
barons to help them to distrain and distress us, we will make them take
the oath as aforesaid at our command. And if any of the tweny-five
barons dies or leaves the country or is in any other way prevented from
carrying out the things aforesaid, the rest of the aforesaid twenty-five
baraons shall choose as they think fit another one in his place, and he
shall take the oath like the rest. In all matters the execution of
which is committed to these twenty-five barons, if it should happen that
these twenty-five are present yet disagree among themselves about
anything, or if some of those summoned will not or cannot be present,
that shall be held as fixed and established which the majority of those
present ordained or commanded, exactly as if all the twenty-five has
consented to it; and the said twenty-five shall swear that they will
faithfully observe all the things aforesaid and will do all they can to
get them observed. And we will procure nothing from anyone, either
personally or through anyone else whereby any of these concessions and
liberties might be revoked or diminished; and if any such thing is
procured, let it be void and null, and we will never use it either
personally or through another.
 And we have fully remitted and pardoned to everyone all the ill-
will, indignation and rancour that have arisen between us and our men,
clergy and laity, from the time of the quarrel. Furthermore, we have
fully remitted to all, clergy and laity, and as far as pertains to us
have completely forgiven, all trespasses occasioned by the same quarrel
between Easter in the sixteenth year of our reign and the restoration of
peace. And, besides, we have caused to be made for them letters
testimonial patent of the lord Stephen archbishop of Canterbury, of the
lord Henry archbishop of Dublin and of the aforementioned bishops and of
master Pandulf about this security and the aforementioned concessions.
 Wherefore we wish and firmly enjoin that the English church shall
be free, and that the men in our kingdom shall have and hold all the
aforesaid liberties, rights and concessions well and peacefully, freely
and quietly, fully and completely, for themselves and their heirs from
us and our heirs, in all matters and in all places for ever, as is
aforesaid. An oath, moreover, has been taken, as well on our part as on
the part of the barons, that all these things aforesaid shall be
observed in good faith and without evil disposition. Witness the above-
mentioned and many others. Given by our hand in the meadow which is
called Runnymede between Windsor and Staines on the fifteenth day of
June, in the seventeenth year of our reign.
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