John's government in England and the Magna Carta



  • Appointed new sheriffs and demanded more money to be raised. This resulted in illicit extortions
  • Exploited the royal forest with arbitary fines
  • Made Jews pay a tallage of £44,000 - had a chain impact on people who owed them money
  • The Great tax/aid levied in 1207 - 13% of the value of rents & moveable property
  • Expanded charging of Baronial widows
  • 380% increase in magnate debt - 1215 rebellion 'a rebellion of the king's debtors' (J.C. Holt)
  • Justice reformed - only carried out by John's royal court
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Magna Carta

  • Document imposed on King John by his feudal barons, making a list of over 60 demands
  • Impacted the following areas; feudal rights of the barons (foreign barons appointed by John to be removed e.g. Philip Marc & brothers), operation of the law courts (ordinary lawsuits don't have to take case to the royal court), legal rights (no widows to be forced into marriage)
  • 25 barons elected to ensure liberties remained
  • Foreign forces to be removed
  • Drafted by Stephen Langton who included liberty; cannot take away the rights of the Church & clergy to be elected by the Church
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