The Magna Carta Project

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Original Latin

Cum autem pro Deo, et ad emendationem regni nostri, et ad melius sopiendum discordiam inter nos et barones nostros ortam, haec omnia praedicta concesserimus, volentes ea integra et firma stabilitate gaudere in perpetuum, facimus et concedimus eis securitatem subscriptam; videlicet quod barones eligant viginti quinque barones de regno quos voluerint, qui debeant pro totis viribus suis observare, tenere, et facere observari, pacem et libertats quas ei concessimus, et hac praesenti carta confirmavimus, ita scilicet quod, si nos, vel justiciarius noster, vel ballivi nostri, vel aliquis de ministris nostris, in aliquo erga aliquem deliquerimus, vel aliquem articulorum pacis aut securitatis transgressi fuerimus, et delictum ostensum fuerit quatuor baronibus de praedictis viginti quinque baronibus, illi quatuor barones accedant ad nos vel ad justiciarium nostrum, si fuerimus extra regnum, proponentes nobis excessum: petent ut excessum illum sine dilatione faciamus emendari. Et si nos excessum non emendaverimus, vel, si fuerimus extra regnum, justiciarius noster non emendaverit infra tempus quadraginta dierum computandum a tempore quo monstratum fuerit nobis vel justiciario nostro si extra regnum fuerimus, praedicti quatuor barones referant causam illam ad residuos de viginti quinque baronibus, et illi viginti quinque barones cum communia totius terrae distringent et gravabunt nos modis omnibus quibus poterunt, scilicet per captionem castrorum, terrarum, possessionum, et aliis modis quibus poterunt, donec fuerit emendatum secundum arbitrium eorum, salva persona nostra et reginae nostrae et liberorum nostrorum; et cum fuerit emendatum intendent nobis sicut prius fecerunt. Et quicumque voluerit de terra juret quod ad praedicta omnia exsequenda parebit mandatis praedictorum viginti quinque baronum, et quod gravabit nos pro posse suo cum ipsis, et nos publice et libere damus licentiam jurandi cuilibet qui jurare voluerit, et nulli umquam jurare prohibebimus. Omnes autem illos de terra qui per se et sponte sua noluerint jurare viginti quinque baronibus, de distringendo et gravando nos cum eis, faciemus jurare eosdem de mandato nostro, sicut praedictum est. Et si aliquis de viginti quinque baronibus decesserit, vel a terra recesserit, vel aliquo alio modo impeditus fuerit, quo minus ista praedicta possent exsequi, qui residui fuerint de praedictis viginti quinque baronibus eligant alium loco ipsius, pro arbitrio suo, qui simili modo erit juratus quo et ceteri. In omnibus autem quae istis viginti quinque committuntur exsequenda, si forte ipsi viginti quinque praesentes fuerint, et inter se super re aliqua discordaverint, vel aliqui ex eis summoniti nolint vel nequeant interesse, ratum habeatur et firmum quod major pars eorum qui praesentes fuerint providerit, vel praeceperit, ac si omnes viginti quinque in hoc consensissent; et praedicti viginti quinque jurent quod omnia antedicta fideliter observabunt, et pro toto posse suo facient observari. Et nos nihil impetrabimus ab aliquo, per nos nec per alium, per quod aliqua istarum concessionum et libertatum revocetur vel minuatur; et, si aliquid tale impetratum fuerit irritum sit et inane et numquam eo utemur per nos nec per alium.

Moreover, since we have granted all these things aforesaid for the sake of God, and for the reform of our kingdom, and the better to still the discord arisen between us and our barons, wishing that these things be enjoyed with a whole and constant stability in perpetuity, we make and grant them the following security: to wit, that the barons are to choose twenty-five barons of the kingdom, whoever they wish, who should with all their strength observe, hold and cause to be observed the peace and liberties which we have granted them, and by this our present charter confirmed, so that if we, or our justiciar, or our bailiffs, or any of our officers shall in any way offend against anyone, or transgress against any of the articles of peace or security, and the offence has been shown to four of the aforesaid twenty-five barons, those four are to go to us, or to our justiciar if we shall be out of the kingdom, setting forth the transgression, and demand that we have it reformed without delay. And if we do not have the transgression rectified, or, if we are out of the kingdom, our justiciar has not done so, within the space of forty days, counting from the time it was shown to us, or to our justiciar if we were out of the kingdom, the four barons aforesaid are to refer the case to the rest of the twenty-five barons, and those twenty-five barons and the commune of the whole land will distrain and afflict us by every means possible, by taking castles, lands and possessions and in any other ways they can, until it is rectified in accordance with their judgment, albeit sparing our own person and the persons of our queen and children. And once the matter has been redressed let them submit to our authority as they did before. And whosoever of the land so wishes is to swear that as to executing all the above he will obey the orders of the twenty-five barons aforesaid, and that with them he will afflict us to the best of his ability, and we openly and freely give permission to swear to whoever wishes to do so, and we will never forbid anyone to swear. But all those of the land who are unwilling to swear individually and voluntarily to the twenty-five barons, to distrain and afflict us with them, we will make them swear by our order as aforesaid. And if any of the twenty-five barons dies, or departs from the land, or is prevented in any other way from being able to act as aforesaid, the remainder of the twenty-five are to choose another man in his place, as they see fit, who will be sworn in like manner as the rest. Moreover in everything which shall be entrusted to the twenty-five barons to carry out, if perchance the twenty-five are present and disagree among themselves over anything, or if any of them, being summoned, will not or cannot attend, what the majority of those who are present shall provide or instruct is to be deemed as determined and binding, as if all twenty-five had agreed to it. And the aforesaid twenty-five will swear that they will faithfully comply with all the aforesaid, and cause it to be upheld to the best of their ability. And we will seek to obtain nothing from anyone, in our own person or through someone else, whereby any of these grants or liberties may be revoked or diminished, and if any such thing be obtained, let it be void and invalid, and we will never make use of it, in our own person or through someone else.

Audio commentary

Referenced in

1. The Byland Abbey Magna Carta (The Copies of Magna Carta)

Magna Carta and Richard II's Reign (Features of the Month)

New Letter of the Twenty-Five (Features of the Month)

New Letter of the Twenty-Five (Features of the Month)

Clause 60 (The 1215 Magna Carta)

Magna Carta and Peace (The Itinerary of King John)

Magna Carta 1215
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Please note: commentaries are presently available only for clauses marked with *; more commentary to be added in due course.