Friday, 13 February 2015

America day part two.

So, after going to the Kennedy memorial, we walked along the historic meadows of Runnymede, where the Magna Carta was supposedly signed 800 years ago this year.

Here's Robyn in front of The American Bar Association's memorial to the Magna Carta;

I guess some wealthy American lawyers had a trip here and couldn't believe there wasn't a memorial to the signing and so they built one in 1957.

There are a couple of problems with all this.

First of all; the opposing armies may have camped at Runnymede but the signing wouldn't have taken place there.

This beautiful house is on 'Magna Carta Island' on the opposite bank at Wraysbury.

It would make some sense for the signatories to meet away from the armies on the Island. The house was built later and although a lot of people believe that's where it was can't be sure.

This is a different view - across the road and behind both it and The River Thames, you are in the historic estate of Ankerwycke. You can just about make out the ruins of the old priory - a religious settlement of nuns from over 1000 years ago.
We all think this would be the kind of neutral territory away from both armies and on consecrated ground where no one would dare to kill any one. Also, there would be people who could read and write and could be trusted by parties who may not have been able to check the documents themselves.
The biggest problem? The Magna Carta was a deal to protect the lives and property of the wealthy barons; no one else had any property and their lives weren't worth living.
It took many centuries of protests to win the liberties we take for granted today.
At the end of our walk was the entrance of The Runnymede Ecovillage, which is todays protest against poverty and homelessness. I've written about them before and we'll probably make a separate trip there when it's a bit warmer.
Then we went home and had Hot Dogs with French's Mustard to finish off America day.
Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)

No comments:

Post a Comment