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
Lincoln, Walter of Worcester, William of Conventry 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 Warenne, 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 confirmation 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 £100 for a whole earl's barony,
the heir or heirs of a baron £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 than 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
compensation 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 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
 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 the 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 counsel of those 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 reasonable 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 fixed place.
 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 we 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 judgments, according to the amount of business to
 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 neighbourhood.
 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 compelled 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, exept 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
 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
 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, by socage, or by burgage,
and holds land 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 like.
 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 judgment 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 justice.
 All merchants shall be able to go out of and come into En-
gland 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 judgment 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 judgment 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 things 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
 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 twenty-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 barons
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 had 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