The Magna Carta Project

VI. The Benedictine abbey of Reading: Lambeth Palace Library MS 371, fos.57v-59v.

by Professor David Carpenter

C.R. Cheney described MS 371 as ‘a small quarto volume from Reading Abbey, composed of many pieces written in various good thirteenth-century hands.’ The copy of the Charter immediately preceded a list of Magna Carta’s twenty-five barons, each with the number of knights they could raise. Cheney dated the hand found in the list to ‘not later than the last quarter of the thirteenth century’ and judged it ‘rather later’ than that found in the brief chronicle (which ends with Prince Louis’ departure in 1217) and the text of the Charter which preceded it.1

In chapter 63 of the Charter – ‘precipimus quod Anglicana ecclesia libera sit et quod homines in regno nostro habeant et teneant omnes prefatas libertates’ -  MS 371 has ‘omnino’ between ‘ecclesia’ and ‘libera’ and reads ‘omnes’ rather than ‘homines’.


  C. R. Cheney, ‘The twenty-five barons of Magna Carta’, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, 50 (1967-8), p.290.

The Copies of Magna Carta