Magna Carta Island is on the left bank (North East) and, as far as navigation is concerned,
is only by courtesy now an Island.
The only channel is to the South West of it.
The name comes from this being the traditional site of the signing of Magna Carta. All the other Magna Carta references are to Runnymede, on the right bank, the other side of the river.
1215: June 15th, the signing of Magna Carta
1810: John Evans -
Near Runnymede, on the river Thames, is Magna Charta Island,
said to be the temporary and fortified residence of the Barons,
to which they retired from the pressure of the surrounding multitude assembled on Runnymede,
that they might have a better opportunity of obtaining the signature of King John
confirming the rights held under that palladium of our Liberty;
it is now nearly covered with willows that shade the hut of the fisherman.
1859: Mr & Mrs Hall –
Cottage on Magna Charta Island, 1859
In the island which forms so charming a feature in the landscape, the Harcourts have built a small Gothic cottage – an altar house, so to call it.
Actually now its called Chapel - and is said to have been sold for $20 million dollars (2014).
The Seven bedroom 'Chapel' on the site where Magna Carta is said to have been signed
It contains a large rough stone, which tradition, or fancy, describes as that on which the parchment rested when the King and the barons affixed their signatures to “the Charter”. It has the following inscription:
BE IT REMEMBERED
THAT ON THIS ISLAND
15 June 1215
JOHN KING OF ENGLAND
SIGNED MAGNA CARTA
IN THE YEAR
ONE THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED AND THIRTY FOUR
THIS BUILDING WAS ERECTED
IN COMMEMORATION OF
THAT GREAT AND IMPORTANT EVENT
GEORGE SIMON HARCOURT ESQ
LORD OF THIS MANOR
AND THE HIGH SHERIFF OF THIS COUNTY
1870: Magna Carta Cottage, Henry Taunt
Magna Carta Cottage, Henry Taunt, 1870
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive; HT01282
Lantern Slide (1883-1908) - "Picnic at Ankerwyke" [Magna Carta Cottage]
Pictures by W.C.Hughes. Thanks to Pat Furley, research by Dr Wilson.
1885: Dickens's Dictionary of the Thames -
Magna Carta Island ... one of the most charming islands on the river, and of historical interest
as the scene of that little arrangement between King John and his barons,
which, as "every schoolboy knows", was the foundation of the freedom of England. ...
The usual uncertainty and vagueness which characterise all history step in even at what ought to be so very simple a matter as this. Tradition undoubtedly assigns the honour of being the scene of signature to the island. But in the charter itself it is said to be given at Runningmede, so that it would seem to be doubtful whether the finishing stroke was given to the palladium of English liberties on this island itself. ...
1889: Jerome K Jerome -
We had originally intended to go on to Magna
Charta Island, a sweetly pretty part of the river, where it winds through a
soft, green valley, and to camp in one of the many picturesque inlets to be
found round that tiny shore. But,
somehow, we did not feel that we yearned for the picturesque nearly so much now
as we had earlier in the day. A bit of
water between a coal-barge and a gas-works would have quite satisfied us for
that night. We did not want
scenery. We wanted to have our supper
and go to bed. However, we did pull up
to the point - "Picnic Point," it is called - and dropped into a very
pleasant nook under a great elm-tree, to the spreading roots of which we fastened
We went over to Magna Charta Island, and had a look at the stone which stands in the cottage there and on which the great Charter is said to have been signed; though, as to whether it really was signed there, or, as some say, on the other bank at "Runningmede," I decline to commit myself. As far as my own personal opinion goes, however, I am inclined to give weight to the popular island theory. Certainly, had I been one of the Barons, at the time, I should have strongly urged upon my comrades the advisability of our getting such a slippery customer as King John on to the island, where there was less chance of surprises and tricks.
1906: Magna Charta Island, Mortimer Menpes -
Magna Charta Island, Mortimer Menpes, 1906
Upstream to the Bells of Ousely
; Frost Fairs
Cannon St Rb
The Great Stink
Charing Cross Rb
Magna Carta Is
Black Potts Rb
New Thames Br
Angel on Br
Papist Way Slip
Clifton H Br
Culham Cut Fb
Head of River
Medley Weir Site
Arks Weir Site
Old Mans Fb
Radcot Cradle Fb
Radcot New Br
Radcot Old Br
Bloomers Hole Fb
St Johns Br
Castle Eaton Br