Tag Archives: Magna Carta

Rebel Barons capture London (1215)

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On this day in 1215, rebel barons captured London, going  on to force the king, John to set his seal to Magna Carta on the tenth of the following month (*).

Ralph of Coggeshall wrote:

“With alliances sworn with the citizens of London via go-betweens, … the barons came to London and seized it without opposition, the citizens being busy at Mass. Having entered, the barons captured all of the King’s supporters whom they found, depriving them of their goods. They broke into the houses of the Jews, rifling store-houses and strong boxes, and having spent much time in this holy work, abundantly restuffed their own empty purses. Robert fitz Walter, Marshal of the Army of God and Holy Church, and Geoffrey de Mandeville, earl of Essex and Gloucester, vigilantly and daily reinforced the city walls with stones taken from the houses of the Jews. They could not, however, take the Tower of London, defended against them by a small but brave garrison. As soon as it became known, far and wide, that the barons had seized the royal metropolis, all, save only the earls of Warenne, Arundel, Chester, Pembroke, Ferrers and Salisbury, and amongst the barons only William Brewer … defected to the baronial party; … so that …  the King was seized with such terror that he now dared travel no further than Windsor”.

(*) The First Barons’ War broke out in late  1215, when it became clear that when John  had no intention of abiding  by the terms of the charter.   At this time, the  barons sought to have Philippe II’s son Prince Louis of France replace John as king, and indeed welcomed him to London as king in early 1216.  However, when the war ended, by the Treaty of Lambeth, brokered by William Marshall, in 1217, they agreed to accept John’s son Henry III as king (John himself having died in late  1216).

The Lord Mayor’s Show

Today, Saturday 14th November 2015, is the day of the annual Lord Mayor (of the City of London)’s Show.

Statue of Henry FitzAlywn, first Lord Mayor of London

Richard I appointed the  first (Lord) Mayor of London, Henry Fitz-Ailwyn de Londonestone, in effect to run the City,  in 1189; and John granted the City the right to elect its own Mayor in 1215 (the “Mayoral Charter” is now in the Guildhall Heritage Gallery).  The prestige of the position was such that the by-then Mayor, William Hardell,  was invited by John to be  a witness to the sealing of, and an Enforcer or Surety of, the Magna Carta, later in 1215.  Magna Carta granted the City of London “all its ancient liberties and free customs, both by land and by water”.  In exchange, the Crown required that, each year, the newly elected  Lord Mayor present himself or herself at court to ceremonially “show” his or her allegiance.  This  event eventually became the Lord Mayor’s Show we know today.  Interestingly, the  associated parade of the mayor and his or her entourage, from the City to  Westminster, used to take place  on the Feast of St Simon and St Jude, on October 28th, whereas now it takes place on the second Saturday in November.  The parade also used to take place on the water, whereas now it takes place  on land – although we still call the mobile stages “floats”.  It travels, accompanied by much pomp, from the Lord Mayor’s official residence, Mansion House,  past St Paul’s Cathedral, to the Royal Courts of Justice, where the Cities of London and Westminster meet.

Statue of Henry FitzAlywn, first Lord Mayor of London

Statue of the first Lord Mayor, Henry FitzAlywn de Londonestone – looking down at us from Holborn Viaduct

The Lord Mayor’s Show

Yesterday, Saturday 8th November, was the day of the annual Lord Mayor (of the City of London)’s Show.

Statue of Henry FitzAlywn, first Lord Mayor of London

The first Lord Mayor, Henry FitzAlywn de Londonestone, was appointed by Richard I as long ago as 1189.  The prestige of the position was such that John invited a later, and by then elected,  Lord Mayor, William Hardel, to be a signatory to the Magna Carta in 1215.  Magna Carta granted the City of London “all its ancient liberties and free customs, both by land and by water”.  In exchange, the Crown required that, each year, the newly elected  Lord Mayor present himself or herself at court to ceremonially “show” his or her allegiance (last year’s mayor was a woman, for only the second time).  This  event eventually became the Lord Mayor’s Show we know today.

Interestingly, the  associated parade of the mayor and his or her entourage, from the City to  Westminster, used to take place on the Feast of St Simon and St Jude, on October 28th, whereas now it takes place on the second Saturday in November.  The parade also used to take place on the water, whereas now it takes place  on land – although we still call the mobile stages “floats”.  It travels, accompanied by much pomp, from the Lord Mayor’s official residence, Mansion House,  past St Paul’s Cathedral, to the Royal Courts of Justice, where the Cities of London and Westminster meet.

Statue of Henry FitzAlywn, first Lord Mayor of London

Statue of the first Lord Mayor, Henry FitzAlywn de Londonestone – looking down at us from Holborn Viaduct