The Magna Carta Project

VII. A late thirteenth, early fourteenth-century statute book: BL Harley MS, 746, fos.65v-68.

by Professor David Carpenter

This has the 1217 Charter’s preamble. But in the top margin there is set out the different preamble of the 1225 Charter with the king acting on his spontaneous and free will. A note in red ink draws attention to it: ‘in margine presentis carte continentur emendaciones facte in secunda carte Henrici regis filii regis Johannis quas concessit et proprio sigillo suo confirmavit priusquam ad etatem legitimam pervenit’. It is interesting to see this awareness that Henry III was not of full age in 1225. At the end of the copy, the saving clause is silently given its place in the 1225 Charter. However, a heading in red ink – ‘de secunda carta’ –  then flags up that what follows comes from the Charter of 1225 (evidently the Charter of 1216 was forgotten). So we have the tax and the promise not to seek anything by which the concessions might be overturned. The copy ends at that point. The book also has the Forest Charter (fos.64-65v). This is the 1217 text but with the tax. The 1225 preamble is set out in the same way in the margin. This time the Charter does have a concluding section. It is sealed by the legate and William Marshal and given by Richard Marsh at St Paul’s on 6 November 1217.  

This statute book also has a copy of the 1215 Charter: see ‘2: Copies of the Authorized Version’, no. XV, above’.

The Copies of Magna Carta