Commoners Invoked Magna Carta

Dublin Core


Commoners Invoked Magna Carta


Administrative system, Archbishop Stephen Langton, barons, boroughs, British Commonwealth, Bruton School, Charter, church, cities, commoners, commonwealth, Crown, crusades, feudal system, free trial, Great Charter (1215), human rights, inspeximus copy, judicial system, justice, King John (r.1199-1216), law, legal judgement, liberty, Library Committee, Lincoln Cathedral, Magna Carta, medieval law, medieval people, merchants, National Library, parliament, Professor Murdoch, rights, Robert Fitzwalter (d.1235), subjects, towns, trial by ordeal, United States, villein, weights and measures, William de Braioise


In this article rebutting criticisms levelled at the Australian Government for its decision to purchase an inspeximus copy (1297) of Magna Carta in 1952, the author begins by reminding readers that the important medieval document would be placed on display in the National Library, where it could be viewed by members of the public. He goes on to explain the significance of Magna Carta, stating that it did not function merely to protect the rights of barons as was often thought, but also those of ‘the Church, merchants, cities, towns and boroughs’. Additionally, he continues, it set up a judicial and administrative system and established precedents to guarantee the liberty of all subjects. Examples are then provided to support the author’s claim that medieval people recognised the wider remit of Magna Carta, including that of a villein who invoked the Charter to sue a Prior and a tenant’s widow who invoked it against an Earl.


Kim E. Beazley, M.H.R.


The West Australian


The West Australian


13 September 1952, p 2.


National Library of Australia


Newspaper Article



Document Item Type Metadata

Original Format