The Magna Carta Project

III. A late thirteenth-century statute book: TNA E 164/ 9, fos.44-47.

by Professor David Carpenter

The earliest portion of this statute book (it was added to in the fourteenth century) may be associated with the judge, Hugh de Cressingham, killed by the Scots in 1297, for it has writs relating to his northern eyre of 1292-1294. Richardson and Sayles thought that it was written in the exchequer (where it was preserved from 1298), very probably for Cressingham’s ‘personal use’.1 This makes its mistakes and variations all the more interesting. 

The heading is ‘Carta Regis Johannis vocatur Ronnemede’. The chief variants are as follows.

In chapter 1, Innocent III is described as ‘bishop’ rather than ‘pope’.

Chapter 2 omits the relief of an earl, and gives that of a baron at 100 marks.

Chapter 3 is omitted.

Chapter 12, on scutage and aid, has ‘capiatur’ rather than ‘ponatur’ and omits ‘per commune consilium regni nostri’. This may be because at some point in the process of transmission a scribe’s eye has jumped on from the ‘nisi’ before this passage to the ‘nisi’ immediately after it. However, chapter 14 has been brought into line with chapter 12 as it here stands. Instead of starting ‘Et ad habendum commune consilium regni’ it starts ‘Et ad habendum commune auxilium regni’.

Chapter 23, instead of the ‘Nec villa nec homo distringatur facere pontes...’ of the authorized version, reads ‘Nec villa nec liber homo...’, a change which would have greatly reduced the range of beneficiaries.

Chapter 25 is omitted, as it was omitted from all the versions of the Charter post 1215.

Chapter 38 is omitted.

A mess has been made of chapters 39 and 40. They are run into one and read

‘Nullus liber homo capiatur, vel imprisonetur, aut dissaisiatur de libero tenemento, nec utlagetur, nec exuletur, nec aliquo modo destruatur nec super eum ibimus nec super eum mittemus aut differemus rectum vel justiciam.’

The ‘de libero tenemento’ is an insertion from the Charters of 1217/1225.

Chapter 43 reads ‘in manu nostra’ rather than ‘in manu baronis’, thus making no sense.

Chapter 48 says that the abuses revealed by the knights

‘penitus deleantur ita quod numquam revocentur ita quod nos prius sciamus...’

This is identical to what is found in the Huntington copy, as opposed to the authorized version’s

‘penitus ita quod numquam revocentur deleantur per eosdem ita quod nos prius hoc sciamus...’

The chapter on fines is in the same place and in the same words as in the Huntington copy.

At the end of chapter 61, John says he will seek nothing from the pope by which his concessions might be revoked:

‘Et nos nihil impetrabimus per nos nec per alium a domino papa vel ab alio per quod...’

This is the same as in the Llanthony Gloucester copy (II above) and compares with Huntington’s

‘Et nos nihil impetrabimus per nos nec per alium a domino papa per quod’

where ‘ab alio’ is omitted.

After the end of Magna Carta, the next document is ‘Magna Carta de libertatibus’, which is the Charter of Henry III in a hybrid version combining elements from 1217 and 1225; see below ‘Hybrids 1217 1225’, no. XIV.

1

See H.G. Richardson and G.O. Sayles, ‘The early statutes’, Law Quarterly Review 1 (1934), pp. 209, 217-23, with the quotation on p.218. According to the TNA catalogue, citing E 101/ 337/ 21/ 3, the volume appears to have been in exchequer custody by 1298. 

The Copies of Magna Carta