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Magna Carta and King Richard II….

Richard II under arrest

Here is the opening paragraph of an intriguing article by the excellent Professor Nigel Saul:-

“As increasing numbers of early copies of Magna Carta are identified in fourteenth- and early fifteenth century registers and cartularies, so we are becoming more aware of the close interest taken in the document by lawyers and political actors in the late Middle Ages. Of especial interest in this connection are the copies of the Charter made at two Gloucestershire monasteries at the end of the fourteenth century. Both copies attest to the revival of interest in the Charter at a time when Richard II’s bold autocracy was raising vital questions about how royal authority might legitimately be constrained and how such constraint might be maintained in the long term….”

Enter another Duke of Gloucester who was also the king’s uncle. In this instance, Thomas of Woodstock, youngest son of King Edward III. In his article, Professor Saul deals with the reasons why a new copy of Magna Carta was created in 1397, at a point in Richard’s reign when he, like King John, was being confronted by his angry barons (who are known to posterity as the Lords Appellant).

Professor Saul is always immensely readable, and he certainly knows his stuff when it comes to Richard II and the 14th century. The article is well worth reading, not least for the subtle political machinations of the Lords Appellant.

 

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3 thoughts on “Magna Carta and King Richard II….

  1. Gary on said:

    “In his article, Professor Saul deals with the reasons why a new copy of Magna Carta was created in 1397, at a point in Richard’s reign when he, like King John, was being confronted by his angry barons (who are known to posterity as the Lords Appellant).”

    Richard II had been controlled by his barons, the Lords Appellant, in the years 1387-1388. The so-called Merciless Parliament met in 1388 and brought charges against Richard’s closest associates and convicted/executed a number of them. In 1397 Richard, after pardoning and apparently forgiving the Lords Appellant, struck back at the three senior members. The Earl of Warwick was imprisoned, the Earl of Arundel was executed and the Duke of Gloucester arrested, sent to Calais and almost certainly murdered. The copies of Magna Carta would have been created in 1397 to oppose the over-reach of the Crown and maintain the actions of the Lords Appellant from 10 years before, not to support a monarch confronted by his angry barons.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. viscountessw on said:

    Interesting, Gary. Thank you.

    Like

  3. Pingback: The wrong Lady Anne….! | murreyandblue

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