The signing of The Magna Carta 798 years ago today.

Stephen Liddell

This weekend marks the 798th anniversary of the signing of The Magna Carta or Great Charter.  It is known world-wide as being the founding of modern principles of democracy and individual rights and freedoms while curtailing the power of the State which at the time was King John.

King John has a bad reputation but unlike some monarchs, his is richly deserved.  He was an absolute ruler who treated his country and people with disdain.  He fought numerous wars in Europe, losing much of his land in the process, he taxed his country like never before and rarely since and even managed to lose the original crown jewels in a swamp in East Anglia (they have never been found so if you fancy making a few hundred million pounds then grab your metal detectors).  His rule was so tyrannical that it inspired folk heroes such as Robin Hood to fight…

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