MAGNA CARTA is The Great Charter of English liberty granted (under considerable duress) by King John at Runnymede on June 15, 1215 AD. It’s also the name of our luxury barge which cruises the Royal river Thames in England.
We named our luxury barge Magna Carta for a number of reasons… Firstly, Runnymede (where the great document was sealed) is central to our cruise route. Secondly, the name Magna Carta is known to all who value freedom throughout the Western world. Thirdly, Magna Carta means Great Charter and indeed having a great charter is exactly what hotel barging is all about. Lastly, the shocking events of 9-11 took place while we were building our beautiful ship. It seems fitting that King John was forced to concede rights to the barons after much fighting and it is in these troubled times today, that the freedoms, fought so hard for, should be enjoyed. We are free to travel and learn and we are free to relax and enjoy. The Magna Carta specifically mentions the freedom to navigate the waterways of England and we have included some of these extracts below, as well as some of the more amusing ones. There is also a quote from Winston Churchill (after whom one of our cabins is named), a poem by Rudyard Kipling and some information on the impact of the charter as a whole.
At the bottom, you have the chance to click onto our very own ‘Bill of Rights’!
The city of London shall enjoy all its ancient liberties and free customs, both by land and by water. We also will and grant that all other cities, boroughs, towns, and ports shall enjoy all their liberties and free customs. Neither a town nor a man shall be forced to make bridges over the rivers, with the exception of those who, from of old and of right ought to do it.
All merchants may safely and securely go out of England, and come into England, and delay and pass through England, as well by land as by water, for the purpose of buying and selling, free from all evil taxes, subject to the ancient and right customs–save in time of war, and if they are of the land at war against us. And if such be found in our land at the beginning of the war, they shall be held, without harm to their bodies and goods, until it shall be known to us or our chief justice how the merchants of our land are to be treated who shall, at that time, be found in the land at war against us. And if ours shall be safe there, the others shall be safe in our land.
There shall be one measure of wine throughout our whole realm, and one measure of ale and one measure of corn–namely, the London quart; –and one width of dyed and russet and hauberk cloths–namely, two ells below the selvage. And with weights, moreover, it shall be as with measures.
No `scutage’ or `aid’ may be levied in our kingdom without its general consent, unless it is for the ransom of our person, to make our eldest son a knight, and (once) to marry our eldest daughter. For these purposes only a reasonable `aid’ may be levied. `Aids’ from the city of London are to be treated similarly.