The Magna Carta Project

VII. A late thirteenth century, early fourteenth-century statute book: British Library Add MS 32085, fos.102-106v.

by Professor David Carpenter

The chief interest of this text is that it is French. Apart from the translation in the cartulary of the leper hospital of Pont Audemer, this is the only French translation of the 1215 Charter so far known. (There are, however, translations into French of the Charter of 1217).  The translation is, however, a translation not of the authorized text, like the Pont Audemer copy, but of the Huntington ‘G’ variant, of which it displays all the chief features. I hope at some point to transcribe a full text, which can then be compared with the Pont Audemer translation. The full text, when studied by the linguistic experts, may give some clue as to when the translation was made. The Pont Audemer translation was probably made in 1215 itself. I suspect this translation was a good deal later. The same volume also contains a French translation of John’s submission to the pope (fos.110-111).  

In the text, chapter 2 follows the form in found in the ‘G’ variants, but adds at the end

‘E heir ou les heirs de baronye par cent mars’.

This is inconsistent with the earlier statement that both count and baron were to pay a relief of £100. It must be a later addition, made to bring the copy into line with the view that the baronial relief was 100 marks not £100.

Chapter 37 follows the same form as in V, above.  

Chapter 39 says no free man is to be disseised ‘de son franc tenement’, thus incorporating an addition made in the Charter of 1217.

Chapter 43 does not follow the form in V, above, but is of the authorized version.

The Copies of Magna Carta