Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Magna Carta and Inspeximus .... the Link

We now, in 2015, stand on the threshold of the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta.  A document signed by King John in 1215 after pressure from the Barons - not to mention the church - speaks of freedom and liberty.  King John was a very unpopular King and was eventually pushed into a tight corner at Runnymede where he was encouraged to sign the document we recognize today.  As a legal document, the Magna Carta has never been revoked and English law is founded on its beliefs.

The word 'Inspeximus' means literally in Latin = 'We have inspected' and comes from the right of land owners to show that what they have is legally theirs.  At Domesday, a record was taken of all land holdings (manors) and what they consisted of; from people to livestock and woodland.  In later years, a re-visitation took place and in 1381 when King Richard II was on the throne, an Inspeximus grant of Walkhampton manor took place to certify ownership.  Walkhampton was a Royal Manor and the premier lead manor of The Roborough Hundred.  Plymouth barely existed and was just a small fishing village called Sutton. 

Time has moved on and much has changed.  However, to hold the 1381 Inspeximus grant in the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office was quite a special feeling.  So much can be learnt from our surroundings.  We just need to know how to look.

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