The Magna Carta Project

The Huntington Family with ‘G’ Archbishop of Canterbury

A group of copies share the place and phraseology of the Huntington family’s chapter on fines while differing in other ways. They all have ‘G’ archbishop of Canterbury in the preamble to the Charter instead of ‘S’ for Stephen, although this does become ‘S’ later in the Charter. With two exceptions, the copies are all found in statute books. Presumably, at some point in the process of transmission, a scribe misread ‘S’ for ‘G’.  This cannot refer to another archbishop since there was no ‘G’ archbishop of Canterbury in the thirteenth century. It is also difficult to see how there could be any confusion with the papal legate Guala, who appears in the preamble to the Charters of 1216 and 1217. This group of copies includes the passages omitted by Huntington in chapters 37, 41 and 57. They also have variations from the authorized version not found in Huntington. Some of these are later additions. Others may go back to drafts at Runnymede. Two particularly interesting variants are the words ‘contra nos ibunt’ instead of ‘gravabunt’ in the security clause and the omission, in chapter 48, of the stipulation that the king or his justiciar are to be informed before the local abuses are abolished.

The Copies of Magna Carta