Article Index

Here is an account of how the peace treaty known as Magna Carta was settled, it being the precedent for events in 1688 and 2001:

“A metrical chronicle (4) records the threat to depose the King, (John) unless he fully amended the law and furnished undoubted guarantees for a lasting peace. On 5th May, the barons went through the ceremony of diffidatio, or formal renunciation of allegiance,(1) a recognised feudal right, and not involving treason if justified by events and properly intimated to the overlord.(2)
(4) Chronica de Mailros, sub anno 1215.

1. Blackstone, Great Charter, p. xiii, citing Annals of Dunstable (p. 43), says they were absolved at Wallingford by a Canon of Durham. 2. Cf. Adams, Origin, 181 n.; 306, 312; cf. also infra under c. 61.

Magna Carta: A Commentary on the Great Charter of King John, with an Historical Introduction,by William Sharp McKechnie (Glasgow: Maclehose, 1914).

Here is Blackstone’s account in his Commentaries on the Laws of England:

“On 5 May, the barons, having chosen as their leader, Robert Fitzwalter, acclaimed by them as “Marshal of the Army of God and Holy Church,” performed the solemn feudal ceremony of diffidatio, or renunciation of their fealty and homage, a formality indispensable before vassals could, without infamy, wage war upon their feudal overlord. Absolved from their allegiance at Wallingford by a Canon of Durham, they marched on London, on the attitude of which all eyes now turned with solicitude. When the great city opened her gates to the insurgents, setting an example to be immediately followed by other towns, she practically made the attainment of the Great Charter secure. The Mayor of London thus takes an honoured place beside the Archbishop of Canterbury among the band of patriots to whose initiative England owes her Charter of Liberties. John, deserted on all sides, and with an Exchequer too empty for the effective employment of mercenary armies, agreed to a conference on the 11th day of June, a date afterwards postponed till the 15th of the same month.

It was on 15 June, then, in the year 1215, that the conference began between John, supported by a slender following of half-hearted magnates, upon the one side, and the mail-clad barons, backed by a multitude of determined and well-armed knights, upon the other. The conference lasted for eight days, from Monday of one week till Tuesday of the next. On Monday the 15th, John set seal to the demands presented to him by the barons, accepting every one of their forty-eight “Articles,” with the additional “Forma Securitatis” or executive clause, vesting in twenty-five of their number full authority to constrain King John by force to observe its provisions...”.

Blackstone, Great Charter, p. Xiii.

Here is confirmation from Blackstone’s Commentaries that “Right of War” sets lawful title to The Crown and the limitations which bind the King:

“THIS conquest then by William of Normandy was, like that of Canute before, a forcible transfer of the crown of England into a new family: but, the crown being so transferred, all the inherent properties of the crown were with it transferred also. For, the victory obtained at Hastings not being a victory over the nation collectively, but only over the person of Harold, the only right that the conqueror could pretend to acquire thereby, was the right to possess the crown of England, not to alter the nature of the government. And therefore, as the English laws still remained in force, he must necessarily take the crown subject to those laws, and with all it's inherent properties; the first and principal of which was it's descendibility. Here then we must drop our race of Saxon kings, at least for a while, and derive our descents from William the conqueror as from a new stock, who acquired by right of war (such as it is, yet still the dernier resort of kings) a strong and undisputed title to the inheritable crown of England...”.

Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England
Book the First : Chapter the Third : Of the King and His Title P 193.

Here is a reminder of the Oath of Allegiance:

“Oath of allegiance

“I, A…..B……., do swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, her heirs and successors, according to law.”

The principles enunciated by Blackstone are the reasons why oaths are sworn to the present line, heirs and successors according to law. Any attempt to set aside the settlement of 1688 and apply a different system of law should entertained unless the present Sovereign is overthrown in which case a Constitutional Convention, as was held in 1215 and 1688 is the common law remedy.

By the Common Law “No man may sit in judgement of his own cause”. For that reason, neither of the institutions, a Sovereign and the House of Lords, has the authority to settle a dispute between them. That is the reason why our wise ancestors relied on a “Constitutional Convention” with representatives of all the estates of the Realm, as the final arbiter in the event of a dispute.

This is what the Bill of Rights has to say about this:

“The Subject’s Rights.

And thereupon the said Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons pursuant to their respective Letters and Elections being now assembled in a full and free Representative of this Nation takeing into their most serious Consideration the best meanes for attaining the Ends aforesaid Doe in the first place (as their Auncestors in like Case have usually done) for the Vindicating and Asserting their auntient Rights and Liberties, Declare...”.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/…/WillandMar…/1/2/introduction

“‘No practice or custom, however prolonged or however acquiesced in on the part of the subject could be relied on by the Crown as justifying an infringement of the provisions of the unrepealed Bill of Rights…”.

Bowles v. Bank of England (1912)

John Hurst. Magna Carta Society.

Add comment