What in buggery does this mean?

Second, no doubt, Jacob relies on Magna Carta as his precedent. Clause 13 of that document, which Jacob seems to have elevated to what he thinks is its true status, makes clear that the King must at all times recall the ancient rights of The City of London when taxing (which was the King’s main economic function at the time). I am sure Jacob believe this gives Mark Carney a superior right that Mr Carney, however, wisely ignores in an era of democracy and subsequent legislation.

+ (13) The city of London shall enjoy all its ancient liberties and free customs, both by land and by water. We also will and grant that all other cities, boroughs, towns, and ports shall enjoy all their liberties and free customs.

I really don’t think that means what Ritchie thinks it means. I assume he’s been infected by the nonsense that Nick Shaxson wrote about the City.

27 thoughts on “What in buggery does this mean?”

  1. The Meissen Bison

    Fancy that: Murphy has no knowledgeor understanding of medieval history or feudalism.

    The man has more lacunae than a worn-out string vest.

  2. Rather depends exactly what liberties and free customs were available at the time of Magna Carter.
    I’ll wager none of them were directly connected with finance- there was no financial centre in London at the time.

  3. “liberties” means “surrounding areas” (or at least, it did in the 17th century, which is my historical era of interest)

  4. I’ve noticed before that the terminally gormless have a remarkable ability to confuse the City of London, a political unit, with the City, a metaphor for the financial world.

  5. BiW-

    And I’m guessing here that “free customs” refers to customs as in tariffs, hence “by land and by water”.

  6. What the hysterical Left also fail to note is that, although Magna Carta can be used as a political argument, it has no legal force any more.

    (I did once go through it; I think I found 3 of its provisions that were not either obsolete or over-ridden by subsequent legislation).

    Shaxson seems to think there are secret Magna Carta exemptions for the City, but it’s subject to UK law the same as anywhere else is.

    If he doubts that, he should try importing something up the Thames and arguing that he doesn’t have to pay customs duty.

  7. Nicholas Shaxson neither agrees nor disagrees with anything at all he has previously written. (Hello Nicholas)

  8. BiW/IanB. My historical interest being the 13th-15th C, yes, it deals with lands and tolls.

    That section states the Crown cannot rescind granted land rights and toll rights from the towns at a whim, which could be done, and regularly was done, before.

    note: the “free” means these were privileges that could be auctioned off to the highest bidder by the aldermen/city council, often for a fixed period of time. It was up to the bidder to make a profit on them, and to enforce the rights.
    Most of them were not free from Tax and Tenths, even though, quite logically, even then people tried their damnedest to avoid paying them beyond the least possible amount they could wrangle.

  9. yes.. “antiquas libertates et liberas consuetudines suas ” translates as “I will respect/leave untouched the liberties and liberated practices of them/it”

    Latin be tricky, especially since meanings have shifted over time, but it *reads* as a formal acknowledgement that the cities/towns mentioned are to be considered separate/distinct political entities.

    Don’t forget that in the day, even a large town was essentially just a large amount of conveniently located, concentrated property of the local liege lord. And usually managed as such, often through minor nobles.
    While mostly “self-regulating” in practice, there still wasn’t any formal recognition of towns/cities as (local) political entities in and of themselves.

    Those were different days, and there’s really no modern parallel after so many centuries. Possibly the way the workers’ unions grew from an unregulated mob into the “social partners” of the establishment, maybe.

  10. @ SJW
    NO – my point is that *all* cities were to have their ancient rights protected by law, not just the City of London with its non-existent (as at 1215) financial industry.

  11. True, but the root for “antiquas” is antiquo. Derived from antiquus, but with a very specific meaning regarding maintaining of the status quo.

    The friend I consult over this kind of stuff ( go to a pro, and all that..) commented that the only thing to be sure about the intended meaning is to actually translate it into early medieval french first, sort that out, then translate it to modern french, and from that to modern english.
    This on the grounds that the Court at the time did not speak english at all, but french.
    ( He compares his work to decyphering a manual written in singrese: *technically speaking* the correct meaning is in there, somewhere. )

  12. @ Grikath
    Thanks for that elucidation.
    Interesting.
    However it does not affect, in one iota, my point that the rights of *all* cities and boroughs were preserved, not just London. So jerks who complain about the City of London’s financial sector four centurires before Lloyd’s was founded are just spouting rubbish.

  13. For what it’s worth, my take is that antiquas probably means former rather than ancient. But this is moot since we have no record of those old rights. And in any case, for The city of London it probably just means the Queen has to ask permission of the mayor to enter, and that the mayor can send someone to parliament to report back on what was said. William built the Tower just outside the walls of London. It is free but in a limited way.

  14. And there are still anomalies. Ely Court in London is outside the jurisdiction of the Met. So if a crim takes refuge in the pub there, they have to call in Cambridge police. I think the liberties of the Savoy have long gone. Presumably the Met has no jurisdiction in the City. But this is small stuff. I haven’t noticed any retailers in the City charging different rates of VAT for example.

  15. From what I know of a bit later in history, appeals to “ancient” rights was an appeal to custom, in that it was whatever people perceived the rights they currently enjoyed to be.

  16. diogenes, I’m pretty sure Ely Place is no longer an exclave of Cambridgeshire.

    Indeed there doesn’t seem to be any real evidence that it ever was (at least after the Counties (Detached Parts) Act 1844, which tidied most of them up).

    A pity, because I would like it to be true, but I don’t think it is.

  17. There’a a lot of it about at that time. “Time immemorial” from the same period means “1189”. After Richard and John, first Magna Carta, barin’s revilts etc, law was in a proper mess. So, Henry III established the Monarchy as a guarantor of justice: the King’s Justice. This required recording what the law actually was before all the recent unpleasantness.

    So, go ask all the old blokes, what was the law before all that then? And given lifespans, memories, decided that 1189 was that “time immemorial”. Rights that existed then were ancient ones.

    It’s a bit of a just so story but contains more than a germ of truth. So my best guess would be that the ancient rights of the City would have been whatever the place’s legal status was in the 1180s, before Dick and John pissed about. One, two maybe, generations back.

    It would have included things like a villein being free from the land if they lived in a city for a year and a day etc, customs duties, export rights, so on. Plus, vitally, no baron owned the land in the city (cities). No feudal dues to pay up the chain, even if there would be something to pay direct to the Monarch.

    It’s actually a lot more like the modern status: duties are to the state (Monarch) rather than the local landowner (Baron). Which is why it’s so odd Ritchie et al complain so much about it.

  18. The Meissen Bison

    You could have stopped the post after 4 words:

    ‘Ritchie has no knowledge’

    And would have been spot on

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