Charter Of The Forest

I have not been writing so much these days about history and some of the misconceptions that are taught….I will rectify my absence.

The Constitution is in the news almost daily….it is used for every aspect of the news….so we should go back to the beginning.

Some Americans believe that the rights outlined in the Constitution were original thoughts by the Founders.

How many of you were taught in your history classes that the Constitution had its beginnings with the Magna Carta?

That teaching is not as accurate as you might think…..the Magna Carta was to quell the rebel barons had very little to do with the ‘common man’.

The Magna Carta, the Great Charter, or the Big Letter, signed by King John on June 15, 1215, at Runnymede, a meadow by the River Thames, to make peace with rebel barons, is perhaps the most well-known document that argues the existence and vigor of individual legal rights. Specifically, at the time of its signing, the immediate goal was protecting the private property of wealthy elite feudal lords who didn’t like their King.

Habeas Corpus—”show me the body”—as a defense against unlawful imprisonment, also traces a legal genealogy to the Magna Carta. However, the origins are in the Assize of Clarendon of 1166. I point out this distinction as noteworthy as there is more to the history of the Great Charter and its legacies.

For example, the Charter of the Forest, issued on November 6, 1217, two years after the Magna Carta, is the less-known of the agreements between these warring parties.

 “Unlike the Magna Carta, which dealt with the rights of barons, the Charter of the Forest addressed the rights of the common man. It restricted the amount of land that the king could claim for private use and restored the right of common access to natural resources.”

The Magna Carta Manifesto: Liberty and Commons for All by Peter Linebaugh examine the fascinating history from below of this document and the implications for the legal claims of private property.

English commoners’ rights come from The Charter of the Forest, not the Magna Carta

Since I am not as expert on English history I would like to hear from my English friends that will have more information than me.

There is so much that we Americans are not taught and I try to correct that oversight as best I can.

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”


2 thoughts on “Charter Of The Forest

  1. The concept of Common Land allowed grazing of animals on land owned by nobody. We still have numerous place names including ‘Common’.
    Just a few examples.
    In London there is Wimbledon Common, Clapham Common, and Wandsworth Common. Other cities have similar areas, and even tiny Beetley has its own ‘Beetley Common’. (Now woodland.)

    Beetley Common

    We also have ‘Heaths’ and ‘Moors’, serving much the same purpose. Most of those became National Parks, and still have animals grazing on them.
    However, over the centuries,, such areas came to be controlled by local councils and the12th century idea was watered down to nothing. They still allow public right of way though, and most are well-used for recreational purposes, becoming like large parks.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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