The Magna Carta Project

V. Hereford, Herefordshire Record Office, AL19/2, fo. 105r.-106r.

by Dr Sophie Ambler

A copy of the inspeximus is preserved in the register of Richard Swinfield, bishop of Hereford from 1282 to 1317. This version gives the opening of the 1265 inspeximus and the full text of Magna Carta, although the scribe has given up part way through the (lengthy) 1225 witness list, ending with the abbot of St Augustine’s Canterbury. He does not, therefore, include anything of the 1265 date or witness list. The copy does not state the name of the county to which the exemplar in question was addressed, although it is quite possible that the exemplar reached Hereford Cathedral via Thomas de Cantilupe. As the Montfortian chancellor between 25 February and 7 May 1265, Thomas de Cantilupe acted as ‘giver’ of the Magna Carta inspeximus (hence the charter was said to be ‘Data per manum magistri Thome de Cantilupo cancellarii nostri apud Westm’ xiiii. die Marcii anno regni nostri xlix’). Thomas became bishop of Hereford in 1275.

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.

The Copies of Magna Carta