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C. R. Cheney
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
C. R. Cheney
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
The growth of legal consciousness from Magna Carta to the Peasants’ Revolt
Author: Anthony Musson

This book is intended as both a history of judicial developments in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries and as a contribution to the intellectual history of the period. The dates 1215 and 1381 mark significant turning points in English history. The product of legal culture and experiences, 'legal consciousness' can be seen both as an active element shaping people's values, beliefs and aspirations and also as a passive agent providing a reserve of knowledge, memory and reflective thought, influencing not simply the development of the law and legal system, but also political attitudes. Focusing on the different contexts of law and legal relations, the book aims to shift the traditional conceptual boundaries of 'law', portraying both the law's inherent diversity and its multi-dimensional character. By offering a re-conceptualisation of the role of the law in medieval England, the book aims to engage the reader in new ways of thinking about the political events occurring during these centuries. It considers the long-term effects of civil lawyer, Master John Appleby's encounter with forces questioning royal government and provides a new explanation for the dangerous state of affairs faced by the boy-king during the Peasants' Revolt over a century and a half later. The book puts forward the view that the years subsequent to the signing of Magna Carta yielded a new (and shifting) perspective, both in terms of prevailing concepts of 'law' and 'justice' and with regard to political life in general.

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Vincent Quinn

. Discovering that I have sympathy with both Moretti and Szymborska, even though their positions are so different, I find myself wanting to put a third object beside their texts. Commissioned by Ruskin College Oxford, the British Library, and the Bodleian Library to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, Cornelia Parker’s Magna Carta (An Embroidery) is a monumental tapestry (almost thirteen metres long) that depicts, not Magna Carta, but a screenshot of how the Wikipedia page for Magna Carta looked on 15 June 2014, the document’s 799th anniversary. Where Szymborska

in Reading
Colin Veach

barons were championing the cause of baronial rights and the limitation of kingship, the keeping of the kingdom was delivered into the hands of the aristocracy. The regency government set up to rule in the young Henry III’s name was one largely composed of the late king’s most loyal magnates, who, like Walter de Lacy, would not have been strangers to the excesses of John and his immediate predecessors. The royalist barons’ loyalty was not entirely disinterested, and they soon set about limiting English kingship through the several reissues of Magna Carta that followed

in Lordship in four realms
Colin Veach

royal custodians, establishing a rebel bridgehead in the central march.180 Further advances were made by the Welsh against the Marshal interests in the southern march, and a fresh outbreak of rebellion flared up in Devon.181 The royalists needed to regroup and gather their strength. 154 royal v. aristocratic lordship: 1206–16 The agreement witnessed by Magna Carta on 15 June 1215 bought the royalists time, but little else. For Walter, this meant a chance to focus on Ireland. On 5 July, the earlier agreement for Meath’s restoration was finally enacted.182 Drogheda was

in Lordship in four realms
Rachel Foxley

historical end of the spectrum, as we will see below. Lilburne’s colleagues in the Leveller movement appeared to agree, at least early in their linked careers, with Walwyn famously reproving Lilburne for his faith in Magna Carta. Lilburne has thus sometimes been seen as lagging behind his colleagues in theoretical terms, a figurehead and demagogue who left the real intellectual work to his colleagues, and who sometimes embarrassed them with his autodidact legal ramblings.3 This view, I think, is profoundly wrong. Not only did Lilburne participate with his colleagues in

in The Levellers
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England’s shared exceptionalism
Ben Wellings

Magna Carta, 2015 In 2015, Magna Carta celebrated its 800th anniversary. This, according to Magna Carta Trust, was ‘a global event to which the whole world is invited’ (Magna Carta Trust, 2015 ). As part of these global commemorations, text from Magna Carta was projected onto the façade of Parliament House in Canberra, where a copy of Magna Carta from 1297 is on public display. This copy was found in the attic of the King’s School, Somerset sometime in the 1930s and sold to Australia in 1952 ahead of the Coronation and

in English nationalism, Brexit and the Anglosphere
Simon Healy

Five Knights’ Case at the end of Michaelmas term 1627 was merely an interim ruling, which ‘did not resolve whether the King or his Council may commit or no’. He claimed that, of the sixteen precedents counsel had then deployed against arbitrary imprisonment, ‘the judges should say … not one was truly vouched’, but went on to insist that this was irrelevant, because ‘All the statutes cited took not away the common law’. By this he apparently meant that the crown had no intention of disputing the validity of chapter 29 of Magna Carta (the normative statement of the

in Writing the history of parliament in Tudor and early Stuart England
Evaluating commemoration and generational transmission of the special relationship
Robert M. Hendershot

Magna Carta, which the British Parliament loaned to the American Congress for display in its rotunda throughout the bicentennial. In addition, the United Kingdom gave the United States a permanent replica of the document. This gift was perfect for Britain’s diplomatic goals as it nicely sidestepped inconvenient chapters of Anglo-American history while emphasizing the key elements of identity and culture that Britons shared with their most powerful ally. The Magna Carta represented freedom and rights, key aspects of American identity being celebrated in 1976; it

in Culture matters