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Magna Carta marked a watershed in the relations between monarch and subject and has long been the subject of constitutional and political historical writing.
This volume has a different focus: what was the social, economic, legal, and religious background to the Charter - what was England like between 1199 and 1215? And, no less important, how was King John perceived by those who actually knew him?
Studies here analyse earlier Angevin rulers and the effect of their reigns on John's England, the causes and results of the increasing baronial fear of the king, the "managerial revolution" of the English church, and the effect of the ius commune on English common law; they also explore the burgeoning economy of the early thirteenth century and its effect on English towns, the background to discontent over the royal forests which eventually led to the Charter of the Forest, the effect of Magna Carta on widows and property, and the course of criminal justice before 1215.
The volume ends with the first critical edition of an open letter from King John explaining his position in the matter of William de Briouze.