The Magna Carta Project

IV. BL, Harley MS. 489

by Dr Sophie Ambler

This early-fourteenth century statute book provides the fullest copy of the 1265 inspeximus. It gives the address of the 1265 inspeximus, the full text of Magna Carta, and the same, longer version of the witness list as the Cambridge statute book (Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS. 70, p. 184) but with the addition of the names of Thomas de Clare and William Marmion.1 It is taken from the exemplar sent to Somerset and Dorset and is dated 13 March 1265.

A collated version of the inspeximus can be found in the Feature of the Month for March 1214.

As David Carpenter has shown, changes were apparently made to the text of the 1225 Magna Carta in the 1265 inspeximus, which are preserved in this copy. In the clause on baronial relief, the amount owed by a baron is given as 100 marks (as opposed to £100, as it has been previously) and the earl is said to owe his relief ‘de comitatu integro’, that is, ‘for a whole earldom’ (as opposed to ‘de baronia comitis integra’, as it had been previously). Read more about these changes and their significance in David Carpenter’s Feature of the Month for December 1214.


BL, Harley MS. 489, fos. 4r-10v.

The Copies of Magna Carta