In 1621 James tried to tread a narrow path to peace in Europe – through the instrument of a Marriage between the England and Spanish royal families. To have aRead More
The 18th century saw a sea change in the attitudes towards constitutional reform. Enlightenment ideas drove a desire to define and systematise; and meanwhile the growth of a desireRead More
The massacre at St Peters Field in 1819 was a key date in the story of the development of democracy in Britain. Mike Leigh’s film sets out to restore that sense ofRead More
It all comes back to the 17th century really. At the start, a king who believes in the absolute divine right of kings, who calls parliament as he requires. AtRead More
The 14th to 16th centuries saw the increasingly professionalism of Common law, and the embedding of parliament at the centre of government. Jurists claimed that the people were sovereign, thoughRead More
We discuss what a Constitution is; and then go in search of one and the development of justice in English Medieval history, from the Anglo Saxons to Edward IIRead More
Okally dokally then everyone. This shedcast owes its existence to a listener called Andrew, and appropriately through the operation of direct democracy, not a concept in which I have muchRead More
The king was the government. His household was to serve all his needs – and provide a properly magnificent ceremonial setting for his glory and power.
There were now unusual expecations for the parliament of 1376. But in fact a revolt from the Commons was brewing, dismayed by the failures of the war. The Good ParliamentRead More
The modus tenendi parliamentum is a very unusual document from around this time. It describes how parliaments should be held, but also includes a number of very interesting claims aboutRead More
The attempt by the Barons to resolve differences they had Edward I and put an end to the crisis caused Piers Gaveston.
The oath is pretty standard; except ‘the just laws and customs that the community of your realm shall determine’. Now that’s very new – commitment to monarchy not monarch.
The parliament of 1295 was sandwiched between war with France and with Scotland, and the king needed money. Edward I was not above pushing the panic button and appealing to patriotism.
The 8th century laws of Ine say much about society, and how the concept of kingship is developing.
The laws of King Æthelbert of Kent are the first surviving example we have of Anglo Saxon law codes.
The Provisions of Westminster set into law the reforms of the rebels, outside the constitutional matters covered by the Provisions of Oxford. In fact, Henry III and Edward I wereRead More
This is part of a book for which copyright has expired, digitised by Google. There are a few passages that haven’t digitized very well. Where, with my limited Latin, IRead More
So here’s the reason why Magna Carta is Magna – because of this, smaller, Forest Charter. The Royal Forest really ticked off anyone who wasn’t the king. At times, RoyalRead More
The Provisions of Oxford are one of the most radical documents in English history, if such a sentence means anything – they were such a change from the medieval wayRead More
Text in blue is mine. *means that the clause was withdrawn from later re-issues of the charter @means that the clause is still valid under later charters, but with someRead More
Henry feels much more confident of his position than many previous kings – such as Stephen, or Henry I. So his coronation charter contains no great detail, gives away noRead More
In essence, this is a Coronation Charter. Stephen arrived on the throne without too much debate or trouble, given the problems that were later to arise. However, there would alwaysRead More
Henry arrived on the throne very unsure of himself and his rights, because of the claims of his elder brother. So his charter is more specific than many others, andRead More
The Coronation Oath, or Charter of Liberties as they were often called, defined the meaning of kingship. In Edgar’s time there are three basic commitments; later kings would add aRead More
In April 1265 Gilbert de Clare had left court in something of a huff. De Montfort was well aware that if he lost de Clare, his whole hold on powerRead More
In 1264 when De Montfort set out from London he would have been conscious that this was a last throw; after losses to the Royalists in the midlands his onlyRead More
In 1262, it looked for all the world as though the royal party was back in control and the whole struggle for reform was over. But that was before youRead More
Things looked pretty good for the reformers in 1259; but at the heart of the reform movement were fault lines that weakened them, and made them vulnerable. The differing aimsRead More
We sort of get back to the political narrative this week, but only sort of. We discuss the young prince, Edward, who will be one of England's most famous kingsRead More
In 1258, the resentments all came together and the pot boiled over. The pope Alexander did his vassal no favours what so ever by pushing so hard that Henry hadRead More
Bouvines wasn't the cause of the Baronial revolt, but it probably was John's last chance to avoid it. In 1215 at Runymede Magna Carta was signed. It's extremely unlikely thatRead More