Monday, March 07, 2011

Now this time we really will get to America

Even closer than Windsor is Runnymede, site of the signing of the Magna Carta by King John back in 1215. Not originally intended as a bill of rights, in its amended form, it became seen as one and Runnymede is widely recognised as the birthplace of democracy (if you ignore Ancient History).

From the National Archives:
... in 1297, Magna Carta was formally recognised as law. Three important clauses still form a part of English statute law today. The best known is:
'No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions ... except by the lawful judgement of his peers.'

Two clauses from it became the American fifth and sixth amendments and the American Bar Association paid for a memorial to be erected in Runnymede Meadows.

Just a few hundred yards away is the memorial to JFK situated in an acre of land given to America by the Queen on behalf of the British people. When we went there I was half expecting an American solider to be on guard duty at the gate but it was an empty and peaceful setting.But it felt quite strange to be standing on American territory while in the heart of England.

1 comment:

Gledwood said...

did you know that the American embassy literally IS American territory on British soil so if you step inside you can say you literally have been to America, just as you've been to Britain if you happen to set foot, say, in Gibraltar...