In evaluating any important undertaking in one’s life or in that of another, there are always some especially associated phenomena which stand out with particular significance, The story of how this little book came to be written is embodied in the thirty-five years of active membership of the author in The Baronial Order of Magna Charta – an Order composed of descendants of the Barons who were the signatures of Magna Charta, on June 15, 1215 at Runnemede. This book is, in reality, a compilation of the addresses which the author has presented over the years, to the Order. With earnestness and industry he has studied this period of English history and he is recognized as a meticulous student with the necessary requisite of scholastic integrity,
Through all of the cadences of evolution and change which we record as history certain building forms emerge. Years of intimate association with a subject give one an insight and understanding not otherwise obtainable. If the history of a people is to be studied it is of importance to examine critically the lives of those individuals most concerned with an act or a period. This the author has done.
We in the United States are the proud possessors of an Anglo-Saxon parentage. The British system of entail built up, following the Norman conquest, vast estates and impregnable castles ruled over by powerful Barons. The mute remains of their crumbled castles and fortresses tell the history of centuries. The story of the deeds of the Barons at Runnemede bears repeated recital for if there is any gift to civilization which the world owes to England it is the discovery and development of popular representation of parliamentary government. This began with Magna Charta.
This volume is not intended to be a comprehensive treatment of the subject. The aim of the author has been to portray vividly, within a moderate compass, each of the Barons who signed the Magna Charta in what was perhaps the most important epoch of democratic institutions. The historical data and the genealogical tables have been acquired through years of research and should be of interest both to historians and descendants of the Barons.
Without introduction this little volume is presented in the confident belief that the interest developed in the subject will far outweigh any shortcomings that may be found in the pages.