1215 : The Year of Magna Carta, Paperback Book
3.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


On 15 June 1215, rebel barons forced King John to meet them at Runnymede. They did not trust the King, so he was not allowed to leave until his seal was attached to the charter in front of him. This was Magna Carta. It was a revolutionary document. Never before had royal authority been so fundamentally challenged. Nearly 800 years later, two of the charter's sixty-three clauses are still a ringing expression of freedom for mankind: 'To no one will we sell, to no one will we deny or delay right or justice'. And: 'No free man shall be taken or imprisoned or in any way ruined, except by the lawful judgement of his peers or by the law of the land'. 1215 - THE YEAR OF THE MAGNA CARTA explores what it was like to be alive in that momentous year.

Political power struggles are interwoven with other issues - fashion, food, education, medicine, religion, sex.

Whether describing matters of state or domestic life, this is a treasure house of a book, rich in detail and full of enthralling insights into the medieval world.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336 pages, line drawings
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: British & Irish history
  • ISBN: 9780340824757

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

Great for a brief survey of life in the year 1215, with interesting comparisons between that year and previous and later periods. It was very easy to read and informative. It doesn't suggest anything controversial, but rather lays out the facts as they are currently accepted by historians. It also makes clear the significance of Magna Carta, and just how it came to be such an important document in our opinion. Highly recommended.

Review by

Danziger and Gillingham try to pull together a comprehensive look at Britain and Europe at the time of the signing of the Magna Carta in this book. The problem is this: so many of these have been done before—vignettes of how both quaint and innovative life in medieval England was. It’s interesting to see the events and the intrigue leading up to the signing, but all the rest is a bit hackneyed. The one shining nuance of this book was that a complete translation of the actual document is included as well as a few chapters devoted to the archaic references therein. An OK read.

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