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The Magna Carta

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 07 May 2009

Melvyn Bragg and guests Nicholas Vincent, David Carpenter and Michael Clanchy discuss the Magna Carta, the oft-proclaimed foundation of English liberties.

The Magna Carta has been cited ever since its issue in 1215 as a foundation stone of English liberties. It includes clauses of universal justice, some of which are still on the statute book, but also sorted out the fishing rights in the upper Thames. Whether Magna Carta is a genuine proclamation of universal liberty or a hotchpotch of baronial self-interest has been debated ever since. Melvyn and his guests examine the ideas contained within it, assess their legacy and find out what really happened all those years ago in a tent in Runnymede.

  • Further Reading

    J. C. Holt, Magna Carta, 2nd. edn. (Cambridge University Press, 1992)

    J. C. Holt, The Northerners, new edition (Clarendon Press, 1992)

    David Carpenter, The Struggle for Mastery: Britain 1066-1284 (Penguin, 2004)
    Chapter on King John and an analysis of Magna Carta: chapter 9

    D. A. Carpenter, The Reign of Henry III (Hambledon Continuum, 1996)

    Ralph V. Turner, Magna Carta Through the Ages (Pearson Education, 2003)

    W. L. Warren, King John, new edition (Yale University Press, 1997)

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