It is unlikely that King John could actually write and therefore the most that could have been hoped for was he signed with an ‘X’.
In fact often seals were used instead as a means to confirm authenticity so when it was said that the Magna Carta was signed at Runnymede – in fact it should correctly be put that it was sealed.
The Magna Carta was the “great charter” of English liberties, which the tyrannical King John I was forced by the English nobility to ‘sign’ on June 15, 1215.
Although this day does not appear in the official calendar of any church, it is a day of great religious significance throughout the English-speaking world.
One of the 48 personal rights and liberties guaranteed by the Magna Carta was freedom of worship; in fact, the opening words of the document were, “The Church of England shall be free.”
But much more than just a basis for ongoing religious doctrine, the Magna Carta is regarded as one of the most important documents in the history of political and human freedom. It placed England on the road to a democratic state and introduced the lawyers in England to the concept of Human Rights as we know it now.
Although it may seem remote to some Americans, who may take freedom for granted, for the English this date marks the first time that the basic belief in the value of the individual was recognized by the ruling government. In fact the Fifth Amendment to the American Constitution is a direct descendent of Magna Carta’s guarantee of proceedings according to the “law of the land.”.
This clause, Clause 39 of the Magna Carta still resonates today as one of the most powerful sentences in history.
“No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land.“