H3H03 MEDIEVAL ENGLAND 1066-1399 TUTORIAL TOPICS
04 KING JOHN AND THE GREAT CHARTER.
a) Who are the principal historians of the reign of King John ? What
changes have taken place in historical opinion on King John?
b) What are the main historical sources for the reign ? What
opinions did the Chroniclers hold of king John ? How reliable
are the Chroniclers for this period ? What other sources are
c) What kinds of problems did John inherit from his predecessors,
particularly from Richard ? What changes took place in the
organisation of the King's council under Richard ? What was the
function of the Justiciar in this period ?
d) What policies did John follow to recover the ground lost by the
monarchy under Richard ? Why were these policies so unpopular
with the barons ?
e) What was the significance of the loss of Normandy in 1204 ? Was
it a decisive factor in turning the barons against John?
f) Who were the barons who actually framed Magna Carta ? Were they
drawn from the same group as the rebels ? What were their
objectives in framing the Charter?
g) To what extent did the Charter satisfy the objectives of the
barons who led the rebellion ? To what extent did the Charter
reflect a more moderate viewpoint ? Is it possible to regard the
Charter as less than a total defeat for John ?
h) Was the Great Charter a genuinely revolutionary restraint on the
king ? Did it really guarantee the 'freedom' of all Englishmen ?
i) Does Magna Carta deserve its place in history ? Why was it so
highly regarded by later generations ? Was their confidence in it
j) Is it possible to defend John's policies ? To what extent was he
a victim of circumstances beyond his own control ? What were his
achievements ? Does he deserve his evil reputation in history ?
Using the relevant volume of ENGLISH HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS find, read
and annotate the following documents:
a) The Unknown Charter of Liberties
b) The articles of the Barons
c) Magna Carta 1215
d) Magna Carta 1217