The Magna Carta Project

‘The Articles of the Barons’ constitute the schedule of terms agreed on 10 June 1215 by King John and a group of barons, mostly though by no means all of northern origin, who had been provoked into resistance by years of what they regarded as unjust and extortionate government.  The Articles were a programme of reform drawn up in an attempt to avert an all-out civil war, and as such they formed the basis for Magna Carta, which was issued by King John five days later on 15 June, though there are important differences between the two documents (outlined in the clause-by-clause commentary on Magna Carta 1215). The Articles of the Barons survive in a single manuscript which has King John’s seal attached to it (B.L. Add. MS. 4838).  It was most likely preserved by Archbishop Stephen Langton, who played an important part in the negotiations between the king and his adversaries in the early summer of 1215.

The translation of the Articles of the Barons given here, with the clauses numbered according to long-standing convention, is essentially a cooperative effort involving all the members of the project team.  

Click on the numbers in the left hand column to view each clause or select 'all articles'.

Further Reading:

D. A. Carpenter, Magna Carta (London, 2015)

D.A. Carpenter, ‘The Dating and Making of Magna Carta’, in his The Reign of Henry III (London, 1996), 1-16

J. C. Holt, Magna Carta (2nd edn., Cambridge, 1992), 429-440.

N. C. Vincent, Magna Carta: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2012)

The Articles of the Barons