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This bronze statuette shows King John sealing the Magna Carta with Archbishop Stephen Langton and the Earl of Albermarle.

King John was an unpopular monarch who continually abused the feudal system, extorted monies from his subjects and relied heavily on his barons to keep order.

A rebellion by some led to a failed assassination in 1212, angering John who seized rebels’ land, provoking civil war.

Unable to sustain costs of a war, King John had no choice but to comply, and a deal was brokered. John and the barons met in Runnymede on 10th June 1215, where the Articles of the Barons curtailing the king’s powers were presented. The full text of Magna Carta, the Great Charter, was then agreed from this and sealed on 15th June 1215.

Magna Carta is revered across the world as the first statement of the fundamental principles of liberty that we enjoy today and is of great significance to Surrey.

Courtesy of The Sidney Oliver Collection Trust

Photography: Brian Wood. © Chertsey Museum

This is one of our History of Surrey in 50 Objects. It was chosen from around 150 items suggested by the Curators and Collections Officers of Surrey Museums to represent a moment, person or event which shaped or changed our county.

Visit the Explore Our Collections page on this site to see all 50 objects.