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Magna Carta
A translation of Magna Carta as confirmed by Edward I with his seal in 1297

[Preamble] EDWARD by the grace of God, King of England, Lord of
Ireland, and Duke of Guyan, to all Archbishops, Bishops, etc. We
have seen the Great Charter of the Lord HENRY, sometimes King of
England, our father, of the Liberties of England, in these words:
Henry by the grace of God, King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke
of Normandy and Guyan, and Earl of Anjou, to all Archbishops,
Bishops, Abbots, Priors, Earls, Barons, Sheriffs, Provosts,
Officers, and to all Bailiffs and other our faithful Subjects ,
which shall see this present Charter, Greeting. Know ye that we,
unto the honour of Almighty God, and for the salvation of the
souls of our progenitors and successors, Kings of England, to the
advancement of holy Church, and amendment of our Realm, of our
meer and free will, have given and granted to all Archbishops,
Bishops, Abbots, Priors, Earls, Barons, and to all freemen of
this our realm, these liberties following, to be kept in our
kingdom of England for ever.

[1] First, We have granted to God, and by this our present
Charter have confirmed, for us and our Heirs for ever, That the
Church of England shall be free, and shall have her whole rights
and liberties inviolable. We have granted also, and given to all
the freemen of our realm, for us and our Heirs for ever, these
liberties underwritten, to have and to hold to them and their
Heirs, of us and our Heirs for ever.

[2] If any of our Earls or Barons, or any other, which holdeth of
Us in chief by Knights service, shall die and at the time of his
death his heir be of full age, and oweth us Relief, he shall have
his inheritance by the old Relief; that is to say, the heir or
heirs of an Earl, for a whole Earldom, by one hundred pound; the
heir or heirs of a Baron, for an whole Barony, by one hundred
marks; the heir or heirs of a Knight, for one whole Knights fee,
one hundred shillings at the most; and he that hath less, shall
give less, according to the custom of the fees.

[3] But if the Heir of any such be within age, his Lord shall not
have the ward of him, nor of his land, before that he hath taken
him homage. And after that such an heir hath been in ward (when
he is come of full age) that is to say, to the age of one and
twenty years, he shall have his inheritance without Relief, and
without Fine; so that if such an heir, being within age, be made
Knight, yet nevertheless his land shall remain in the keeping of
his Lord unto the term aforesaid.

[4] The keeper of the land of such an heir, being within age,
shall not take of the lands of the heir, but reasonable issues,
reasonable customs, and reasonable servics, and that without
destruction and waste of his men and goods. And if we commit the
custody of any such land to the Sheriff, or to any other, which
is answerable unto us for the issues of the same land, and he
make destruction or waste of those things that he hath in
custody, we will take of him amends and recompence therefore, and
the land shall be committed to two lawful and discreet men of
that fee, which shall answer unto us for the issues of the same
land, or unto him whom we will assign. And if we give or sell to
any man the custody of any such land, and he therein do make
destruction or waste, he shall lose the same custody; and it
shall be assigned to two lawful and discreet men of that fee,
which also in like manner shall be answerable to us, as afore is

[5] The keeper, so long as he hath the custody of the land of
such an heir, shall keep up the houses, parks, warrens, ponds,
mills, and other things pertaining to the same land, with the
issues of the said land; and he shall deliver to the Heir, when
he cometh to his full age, all his land stored with ploughs, and
all other things, at the least as he received it. All these
things shall be observed in the custodies of the Archbishopricks,
Bishopricks, Abbeys, Priories, Churchs, and Dignities vacant,
which appertain to us; except this, that such custody shall not
be sold.

[6] Heirs shall be married without Disparagement.

[7] A Widow, after the death of her husband, incontinent, and
without any Difficulty, shall have her marriage and her
inheritance, and shall give nothing for her dower, her marriage,
or her inheritance, which her husband and she held the day of the
death of her husband, and she shall tarry in the chief house of
her husband by forty days after the death of her husband, within
which days her dower shall be assigned her (if it were not
assigned her before) or that the house be a castle; and if she
depart from the castle, then a competent house shall be forthwith
provided for her, in the which she may honestly dwell, until her
dower be to her assigned, as it is aforesaid; and she shall have
in the meantime her reasonable estovers of the common; and for
her do wer shall be assigned unto her the third part of all the
lands of her husband, which were his during coverture, except she
were endowed of less at the Church-door. No widow shall be
distrained to marry herself: nevertheless she shall find surety,
that she shall not marry without our licence and assent (if she
hold of us) nor without the assent of the Lord, if she hold of

[8] We or our Bailiffs shall not seize any land or rent for any
debt, as long as the present Goods and Chattels of the debtor do
suffice to pay the debt, and the debtor himself be ready to
satisfy therefore. Neither shall the pledges of the debtor be
dist rained, as long as the principal debtor is sufficient for
the payment of the debt. And if the principal debtor fail in the
payment of the debt, having nothing wherewith to pay, or will not
pay where he is able, the pledges shall answer for the debt. And
if they will, they shall have the lands and rents of the debtor,
until they be satished of that which they before paid for him,
except that the debtor can show himself to be acquitted against
the said sureties.

[9] The city of London shall have all the old liberties and
customs, which it hath been used to have. Moreover we will and
grant, that all other Cities, Boroughs, Towns, and the Barons of
the Five Ports, and all other Ports, shall have all their
liberties and free customs.

[10] No man shall be distrained to do more service for a Knights
fee, nor any freehold, than therefore is due.

[11] Common Pleas shall not follow our Court, but shall be holden
in some place certain.

[12] Assises of novel disseisin, and of Mortdancestor, shall not
be taken but in the shires, and after this manner: If we be out
of this Realm, our chief Justicer shall send our Justicers
through every County once in the Year, which, with the Knights of
the shires, shall take the said Assises in those counties; and
those things that at the coming of our foresaid Justicers, being
sent to take those Assises in the counties, cannot be determined,
shall be ended by them in some other place in their circuit; and
those things, which for difficulty of some articles cannot be
determined by them, shall be referred to our Justicers of the
Bench, and there shall be ended.

[13] Assises of Darrein Presentment shall be alway taken before
our Justices of the Bench, and there shall be determined.

[14] A Freeman shall not be amerced for a small fault, but after
the manner of the fault; and for a great fault after the
greatness thereof, saving to him his contenement; and a Merchant
likewise, saving to him his Merchandise; and any other's villain
than ours shall be likewise amerced, saving his wainage, if he
falls into our mercy. And none of the said amerciaments shall be
assessed, but by the oath of honest and lawful men of the
vicinage. Earls and Barons shall not be amerced but by their
Peers, and after the manner of their offence. No man of the
Church shall be amerced after the quantity of his spiritual
Benefice, but after his Lay-tenement, and after the quantity of
his offence.

[15] No Town or Freeman shall be distrained to make Bridges nor
Banks, but such as of old time and of right have been accustomed
to make them in the time of King Henry our Grandfather.

[16] No Banks shall be defended from henceforth, but such as were
in defence in the time of King Henry our Grandfather, by the same
places, and the same bounds, as they were wont to be in his time.

[17] No Sheriff, Constable, Escheator, Coroner, nor any other our
Bailiffs, shall hold Pleas of our Crown.

[18] If any that holdeth of us Lay-fee do die, and our Sheriff or
Bailiff do show our Letters Patents of our summon for Debt, which
the dead man did owe to us; it shall be lawful to our Sheriff or
Bailiff to attach or inroll all the goods and chattels of the
dead, being found in the said fee, to the Value of the same Debt,
by the sight and testimony of lawful men, so that nothing thereof
shall be taken away, until we be clearly paid off the debt; and
the residue shall remain to the Executors to perform the
testament of the dead; and if nothing be owing unto us, all the
chattels shall go to the use of the dead (saving to his wife and
children their reasonable parts).

[19] No Constable, nor his Bailiff, shall take corn or other
chattels of any man, if the man be not of the Town where the
Castle is, but he shall forthwith pay for the same, unless that
the will of the seller was to respite the payment; and if he be
of the same Town, the price shall be paid unto him within forty

[20] No Constable shall distrain any Knight to give money for
keeping of his Castle, if he himself will do it in his proper
person, or cause it to be done by another sufficient man, if he
may not do it himself for a reasonable cause. And if we lead or
send him to an army, he shall be free from Castle-ward for the
time that he shall be with us in fee in our host, for the which
he hath done service in our wars.

[21] No Sheriff nor Bailiff of ours, or any other, shall take the
Horses or Carts of any man to make carriage, except he pay the
old price limited, that is to say, for carriage with two horse,
x.d. a day; for three horse, xiv.d. a day. No demesne Cart of any
Spiritual person or Knight, or any Lord, shall be taken by our
Bailiffs; nor we, nor our Bailiffs, nor any other, shall take any
man's wood for our Castles, or other our necessaries to be done,
but by the licence of him whose wood it shall be.

[22] We will not hold the Lands of them that be convict of Felony
but one year and one day, and then those Lands shall be delivered
to the Lords of the fee.

[23] All Wears from henceforth shall be utterly put down by
Thames and Medway, and through all England, but only by the

[24] The Writ that is called Praecipe in capite shall be from
henceforth granted to no person of any freehold, whereby any
freeman may lose his Court.

[25] One measure of Wine shall be through our Realm, and one
measure of Ale, and one measure of Corn, that is to say, the
Quarter of London; and one breadth of dyed Cloth, Russets, and
Haberjects, that is to say, two Yards within the lists. And it
shall be of Weights as it is of Measures.

[26] Nothing from henceforth shall be given for a Writ of
Inquisition, nor taken of him that prayeth Inquisition of Life,
or of Member, but it shall be granted freely, and not denied.

[27] If any do hold of us by Fee-ferm, or by Socage, or Burgage,
and he holdeth Lands of another by Knights Service, we will not
have the Custody of his Heir, nor of his Land, which is holden of
the Fee of another, by reason of that Fee-ferm, Socage, or
Burgage. Neither will we have the custody of such Fee-ferm, or
Socage, or Burgage, except Knights Service be due unto us out of
the same Fee-ferm. We will not have the custody of the Heir, or
of any Land, by occasion of any Petit Serjeanty, that any man
holdeth of us by Service to pay a Knife, an Arrow, or the like.

[28] No Bailiff from henceforth shall put any man to his open
Law, nor to an Oath, upon his own bare saying, without faithful
Witnesses brought in for the same.

[29] No Freeman shall be taken, or imprisoned, or be disseised of
his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or
exiled, or any otherwise destroyed; nor will we pass upon him,
nor condemn him, but by lawful Judgment of his Peers, or by the
Law of the Land. We will sell to no man, we will not deny or
defer to any man either Justice or Right.

[30] All Merchants (if they were not openly prohibited before)
shall have their safe and sure Conduct to depart out of England,
to come into England, to tarry in, and go through England, as
well by Land as by Water, to buy and sell without any manner of
evil Tolts, by the old and rightful Customs, except in Time of
War. And if they be of a land making War against us, and such be
found in our Realm at the beginning of the Wars, they shall be
attached without harm of body or goods, until it be known unto us
, or our Chief Justice, how our Merchants be intreated there in
the land making War against us; and if our Merchants be well
intreated there, theirs shall be likewise with us.

[31] If any man hold of any Eschete, as of the honour of
Wallingford, Nottingham, Boloin, or of any other Eschetes which
be in our hands, and are Baronies, and die, his Heir shall give
none other Relief, nor do none other Service to us, than he
should to the Baron, if it were in the Baron's hand. And we in
the same wise shall hold it as the Baron held it; neither shall
we have, by occasion of any such Barony or Eschete, any Eschete
or keeping of any of our men, unless he that held the Barony or
Eschete hold of us in chief.

[32] No Freeman from henceforth shall give or sell any more of
his Land, but so that of the residue of the Lands the Lord of the
Fee may have the Service due to him, which belongeth to the Fee.

[33] All Patrons of Abbies, which have the King's Charters of
England of Advowson, or have old Tenure or Possession in the
same, shall have the Custody of them when they fall void, as it
hath been accustomed, and as it is afore declared.

[34] No Man shall be taken or imprisoned upon the Appeal of a
Woman for the Death of any other, than of her husband.

[35] No County Court from henceforth shall be holden, but from
Month to Month; and where greater time hath been used, there
shall be greater: Nor any Sheriff, or his Bailiff, shall keep his
Turn in the Hundred but twice in the Year; and nowhere but in due
place, and accustomed; that is to say, once after Easter, and
again after the Feast of St. Michael. And the View of Frankpledge
shall be likewise at the Feast of St. Michael without occasion;
so that every man may have his Liberties which he had, or used to
have, in the time of King HENRY our Grandfather, or which he hath
purchased since: but the View of Frankpledge shall be so done,
that our Peace may be kept; and that the Tything be wholly kept
as it hath been accustomed; and that the Sheriff seek no
Occasions, and that he be content with so much as the Sheriff was
wont to have for his Viewmaking in the time of King HENRY our

[36] It shall not be lawful from henceforth to any to give his
Lands to any Religious House, and to take the same Land again to
hold of the same House. Nor shall it be lawful to any House of
Religion to take the Lands of any, and to lease the same to him
of whom he received it. If any from henceforth give his Lands to
any Religious House, and thereupon be convict, the Gift shall be
utterly void, and the Land shall accrue to the Lord of the Fee.

[37] Escuage from henceforth shall be taken like as it was wont
to be in the time of King HENRY our Grandfather; reserving to all
Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots, Priors, Templers, Hospitallers,
Earls, Barons, and all persons, as well Spiritual as Temporal,
all their free liberties and free Customs, which they have had in
time passed. And all these Customs and Liberties aforesaid, which
we have granted to be holden within this our Realm, as much as
appertaineth to us and our Heirs, we shall observe; and all Men
of this our Realm, as well Spiritual as Temporal (as much as in
them is) shall observe the same against all persons in like wise.
And for this our Gift and Grant of these Liberties, and of other
contained in our Charter of Liberties of our Forest, the Archb
ishops, Bishops, Abbots, Priors, Earls, Barons, Knights,
Freeholders, and other our Subjects, have given unto us the
Fifteenth Part of all their Moveables. And we have granted unto
them for us and our Heirs, that neither we, nor our Heirs shall
proc ure or do anything whereby the Liberties in this Charter
contained shall be infringed or broken; and if anything be
procured by any person contrary to the premisses, it shall be had
of no force nor effect. These being Witnesses; Lord B. Archbishop
of Cant erbury, E. Bishop of London, J. Bishop of Bathe, P. of
Winchester, H. of Lincoln, R. of Salisbury, W. of Rochester, W.
of Worester, J. of Ely, H. of Hereford, R. of Chichester, W. of
Exeter, Bishops; the Abbot of St. Edmunds, the Abbot of St.
Albans, the Abbot of Bello, the Abbot of St. Augustines in
Canterbury, the Abbot of Evesham, the Abbot of Westminster, the
Abbot of Bourgh St. Peter, the Abbot of Reading, the Abbot of
Abindon, the Abbot of Malmsbury, the Abbot of Winchcomb, the
Abbot of Hyde, the Abbot of Certefey, the Abbot of Sherburn, the
Abbot of Cerne, the Abbot of Abbotebir, the Abbot of Middleton,
the Abbot of Seleby, the Abbot of Cirencester; H. de Burgh
Justice, H. Earl of Chester and Lincoln, W. Earl of Salisbury, W.
Earl of Warren, G. de Clare Earl of Gloucester and Hereford, W.
de Ferrars Earl of Derby, W. de Mandeville Earl of Essex, H. de
Bygod Earl of Norfolk, W. Earl of Albermarle, H. Earl of
Hereford, J. Constable of Chester, R. de Ros, R. Fitzwalter, R.
de Vyponte, W. de Bruer, R. de Muntefichet, P. Fitzherbert, W. de
Aubenie, F. Grefly, F. de Breus, J. de Monemue, J. Fitzallen, H.
de Mortimer, W. de Beauchamp, W. de St. John, P. de Mauly, Brian
de Lisle, Thomas de Multon, R. de Argenteyn, G. de Nevil, W. de
Mauduit, J. de Balun, and others. We, ratifying and approving
these Gifts and Grants aforesaid, confirm and make strong all the
same for us and our Heirs perpetually, and, by the Tenour of
these Presents, do renew the same; willing and granting for us
and our Heirs, that this Charter, and all and singular his
Articles, for ever shall be stedfastly, firmly, and inviolably
observed; although some Articles in the same Charter contained,
yet hitherto peradventure have not been kept, we will, and by
Authority Royal command, from henceforth firmly they be observed.
In witness whereof we have caused these our Letters Patents to be
made. T. EDWARD our Son at Westminster, the Twenty-eighth Day of
March, in the Twenty-eighth Year of our Reign.

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