The Magna Carta

History and Heritage

The Magna Carta

The Magna Carta or The Great Charter of Liberties agreed between King John and his barons at Runnymede near Windsor in 1215 is one of the most famous documents in history. It is considered the foundation of English common law and much of its worldwide importance lies in the interpretation of the clauses from which grew the right of the freedom of the individual.

‘No free man shall be arrested,
imprisoned, dispossessed,
outlawed, exiled or in any way
victimised, or attacked except by
the lawful judgement of his peers
or by the law of the land’.

What began as a peace treaty brokered between a king and his most powerful subjects on a water meadow beside the Thames has become an iconic symbol of liberty, justice and freedom of the individual celebrated throughout the world.

The name and ideal of Magna Carta was frequently used wherever people felt oppressed by their government and continued to feed the principle of individual freedom. This culminated in the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations in 1948 followed shortly after by the European Convention on Human Rights which set up the European Court of Human Rights.

The court is open to all who feel their rights have been violated in any way by the state. In 2000 the British Human Rights Act made the European Convention on Human Rights enforceable in UK courts. Over the past one hundred and fifty years of reform and rationalisation of English law only three and a half of the clauses in Magna Carta remain in force yet it is what Magna Carta represents that still has power to inspire today.


Hereford attractions

Definitely one for the itinerary.


Rate and write a review

We are passionate about the local community and its businesses so please note that reviews will only be published if constructive and well-intended.

Hereford HR1 2NG 5 College Cloisters, Cathedral Close, Hereford, Herefordshire, HR1 2NG, UK
Get directions