Today, June 15, 2012, is the 797th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta. The document laid a foundation for freedom, almost 800 years ago, upon which we stand today.
A teacher might use some of these photos explaining the steps to the Constitution, in English law and the heritage of U.S. laws. Other than the Magna Carta, all the events of Runnymede get overlooked in American studies of history. Antony McCallum, working under the name Wyrdlight, took these stunning shots of this historic meadow. (He photographs stuff for studies of history, it appears.)
Maybe it’s a geography story.
Several monuments to different events of the past millennium populate the site. The American Bar Association dedicated a memorial to the Magna Carta there — a small thing open to the air, but with a beautiful ceiling that is probably worth the trip to see it once you get to England.
Wikipedia explains briefly, with a note that the ABA plans to meet there again in 2015, the 800th anniversary of the Great Charter:
Magna Carta Memorial
Situated in a grassed enclosure on the lower slopes of Cooper’s Hill, this memorial is of a domed classical style, containing a pillar of English granite on which is inscribed “To commemorate Magna Carta, symbol of Freedom Under Law”. The memorial was created by the American Bar Association to a design by Sir Edward Maufe R.A., and was unveiled on 18 July 1957 at a ceremony attended by American and English lawyers.
Since 1957 representatives of the ABA have visited and rededicated the Memorial renewing pledges to the Great Charter. In 1971 and 1985 commemorative stones were placed on the Memorial plinth. In July 2000 the ABA came:
to celebrate Magna Carta, foundation of the rule of law for ages past and for the new millennium.
In 2007 on its 50th anniversary the ABA again visited Runnymede and during the convention installed as President Charles Rhyne who devised Law Day which seeks in the USA an annual reaffirmation of faith in the forces of law for peace.
The ABA will be meeting at Runnymede in 2015 on the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the original charter.
In 2008, flood lights were installed to light the memorial at night, but due to vandalism they now lie smashed.
I’ll wager the lights get fixed before 2015.
- Photo gallery of sites and sights at Runnymede, from the National Trust, the owner and operator of the site. (Why has the United States no authority just like the National Trust? Is the National Park Service the right agency to manage all such sites here?)
- X marks the spot (robertjhorton.wordpress.com)
- June 15 1215 Magna Carta sealed (craighill.net)
- 13th-Century Food Fights Helped Fuel The Magna Carta (npr.org)
- The Magna Carta (neatorama.com)
- 59 Magna Carta and the Death of a Tyrant (historyofengland.typepad.com)
- Magna Carta: The Great Charter (orrinwoodwardblog.com)
- Information before the Information Age (frothingmug.blogspot.com)