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This ‘Unknown Charter’, as Round termed it, was undoubtedly an early draft of the negotiations brought to fulfilment at Runnymede. This was a point eagerly seized upon by Hubert Hall, himself a recent victim of Roundian persecution and only too keen to correct his tormentor.
On 15th June 1215 the Magna Carta was sealed under oath by King John at Runnymede, on the bank of the River Thames near Windsor, England.
2015 is the 800th anniversary of this charter, which led eventually to the rule of constitutional law in England and beyond. The readers in this project are not scholars of mediaeval Latin or French.
Brussel’s Norman Magna Carta, as Round revealed, was in fact nothing but a slightly modified version of Henry III’s Magna Carta of 1225, clearly misattributed to Henry II. It comes from a family of manuscripts of the 1280s and 90s, prepared in the build-up to Louis X’s Charte aux normands of 1315: an attempt by the Normans to guarantee their own distinctive Norman legal customs in the face of Capetian demands for conformity and taxation.
In pursuit of this, Norman lawyers were prepared not only to hunt out genuine evidence of the Norman past but also, where necessary, to improve or invent evidence attributed to Norman and Plantagenet kings.
Into this category fall not only the Norman Magna Carta but, I would argue, a large part of the so-called ‘Très Ancien Coutumier’, supposedly a pre-1204 Deuteronomy of Norman legal custom, in reality known from no copy before the late thirteenth-century.
Tout’s colleague, James Tait, displayed many of the best (and some of the worst) characteristics of Manchester in an article of 1912, correcting both Maitland and Mc Kechnie (the most comprehensive of Magna Carta’s recent commentators) in their translation of the word , both ‘profit’ and the means of obtaining such profit including tillage and land under cultivation.
Were we seeking a terminology here, I would suggest ‘the era of Stubbs’, ‘the era of Powicke’, ‘the era of Holt’, and ‘the post-Stubbsian age’.
The launch of (1874–8), in many ways Victorian constitutionalism’s high-water mark.
By drawing attention to the role played by the bishops in Magna Carta’s enforcement, he nonetheless advanced an important line of argument.
This went largely ignored by commentators between 1913 and the revival of Poole’s theory by Ifor Rowlands, in improved form, as recently as 2009.