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Magna Carta marked a watershed in the relations between monarch and subject and as such has long been central to English constitutional and political history. This volume uses it as a springboard to focus on social, economic, legal, and religious institutions and attitudes in the early thirteenth century. What was England like between 1199 and 1215? And, no less important, how was King John perceived by those who actually knew him? The essays 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 examine 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 concludes with the first critical edition of an open letter from King John explaining his position in the matter of William de Briouze.
Contributors: Janet S. Loengard, Ralph V. Turner, John Gillingham, David Crouch, David Crook, James A. Brundage, John Hudson, Barbara Hanawalt, James Masschaele