5 May: Renouncing King John

The Magna Carta would not have become law unless a group of Barons had first renounced their allegiance to King John on 5th May, 1215. Primarily protecting their own interests, they were keen to prevent John burdening them with ever-higher taxes to fund his seemingly endless Wars. 

Even once agreed, the now-revered document contained some surprising clauses: for example a law preventing members of a particular family ever serving as a Royal officer; and another stating that, ‘no one should be arrested or imprisoned on the appeal of a woman, for the death of any person except her husband.’

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly uncover the legal loopholes John had previously exploited to enforce his tax hikes; consider the tricky business of trying to get a rapid response from the Pope; and reveal the Magna Carta’s original title… 

Further Reading:

• ‘King John and the Magna Carta – The Magna Carta’ (BBC Bitesize): https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/zcyx2v4/articles/zcg66g8

• ‘Magna Carta – The True Story Behind the Charter – By David Starkey’ (Hodder & Stoughton, 2015): https://www.google.co.uk/books/edition/Magna_Carta/JtCVBgAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=article+of+the+barons&printsec=frontcover

• ‘Horrible Histories Song – Magna Carta 800 Years’ (CBBC, 2015):

#1200s #Royals #UK