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Archbishop tied to the creation of the Magna Carta dies – July 9, 1228

1217 Magna Carta
The 1217 Magna Carta appears in the "Magna Carta: Tyranny. Justice. Liberty" exhibit at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., on July 1, 2021. |

This week marks the anniversary of when Stephen Langton, the Archbishop of Canterbury who helped to create the politically influential English document the Magna Carta, died.

A native of Lincolnshire, England, Langton was said to believe that although kings should be obeyed, they were not meant to rule the world.

Langton became involved in the growing disputes between English barons and King John when he refused to relinquish control of Rochester castle to the monarch.

According to Medieval historian Sophie Ambler, formerly of the University of East Anglia, Langton was likely one of the authors of the Magna Carta and was a staunch supporter of it.

“In 1225, [Langton] pronounced a broad sentence of excommunication in support of Magna Carta. This meant that anyone – king, royal officer, or baron – would automatically be outlawed from the Church if they violated the Charter,” wrote Ambler.

“When Magna Carta was confirmed in later years, the bishops renewed Langton’s sentence. Langton and his successors were instrumental in promoting and upholding the Charter and, thus, in ensuring its survival.”  

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