Monday, June 15, 2015

Magna Carta

We haven't had a Maps on Monday post for a while so as today, 15 June 2015, is the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta let's have some maps related to that.

Magna Carta was agreed by King John of England and a group of rebel barons at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215. Although Magna Carta was somewhat limited in scope, dealing with such issues as the rights of the church and protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, the political myth of Magna Carta as a document guaranteeing widespread personal liberties persisted until well into the 19th century. It influenced the early American colonists in the Thirteen Colonies and the formation of the American Constitution in 1789.

This strip map from a 1675 "road atlas" of England and Wales published by John Ogilby shows the routes that would have been taken by the king and the barons to the field at Runnymede where the Magna Carta was signed. The king rode down from his castle at Windsor and the barons crossed the River Thames at Staines, where a "wooden bridge" is marked on the map.

Researchers at Cambridge University have recently created the first digital maps of the travels undertaken by King John and of his successors Henry III and Edward I during their reigns. It turns out that John was pretty much always on the move raising taxes and holding court, trying to hold on to his authority in spite of the challenges from those pesky barons.

And what does all this have to do with sailing?

Not a lot.

Except I think every sailor has at some time lost a "personal treasure" overboard. A cell-phone. A pair of sunglasses. A favorite hat. Yes?

So show some sympathy for King John who lost most of his personal belongings, including the Crown Jewels, as he and his retinue and their pack-horses crossed one of the tidal estuaries which empties into the Wash.

Oh, and for all my American readers, did you know that every American president except one, is descended from King John?

Can you guess who the exception is without going to that link first?

And what is the most valued "personal treasure" that you have lost to the ocean depths?


JP said...

Mostly hats, nothing as bad as what can be seen to get lost overboard in this Delos video:

Tillerman said...

That video is 24 minutes long! Do I have to watch it all to find out what was lost overboard?

JP said...


Tillerman said...

Oh yeah. That's exactly the kind of thing I was thinking of. And he got it on video!

Msgt3227 said...

First thing I lost was an anchor.... Did you know the opposite end of the rope is supposed to be somehow attached to the boat??? Very expensive fishing pole while teaching neice how to fish.... So THAT's why you teach 'em with a bamboo pole! My new bifocals with the custom clipon sunglasses (last summer) when the Hilu flipped (and turtled (can a Hilu be considered to have turtled???) )due to an totally unexpected gust of wind .... and nothing to do with my extraordinary sailing skills.

Tillerman said...

Thanks Msgt3227. That reminds me that the most expensive thing I ever lost overboard was probably my pair of prescription sunglasses that got pulled off my head when my Laser decided to tow me underwater for some considerable distance at CORK one year.

I wrote about it at Sunglasses.

JP said...

I lost some prescription glasses too when was hit by the boom:

Jeremiah Blatz said...

I lost my spare time.

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