Year 7

1215 and Magna Carta

I can describe the key contents of Magna Carta.

Year 7

1215 and Magna Carta

I can describe the key contents of Magna Carta.

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Lesson details

Key learning points

  1. John’s disagreement with the Church angered the barons.
  2. The barons rose up against John, led by Robert Fitzwalter.
  3. John was forced to accept the barons’ demands set out in Magna Carta.
  4. The 63 clauses of the Magna Carta included one which many consider the start of basic human rights.
  5. Magna Carta included a radical clause which suggested power lay not with the king, but with the barons.

Common misconception

King John signed the Magna Carta.

A modern misconception is that King John signed Magna Carta, this is untrue, royal documents were not signed but sealed.


  • Radical - radical is believing or expressing extreme change

  • Seal - a seal is a wax mould attached to written documents to prove it is from a specific person

  • Magna Carta - Magna Carta was a document that limited the power of the king and granted certain freedoms to some English people

  • Clause - a clause is a particular part of a written legal document

  • Rule of law - the rule of law is a set of laws that everyone, including the king, must obey

Create a diagram of the feudal pyramid and place Magna Carta at the top. This is a great way to illustrate the document's power and the concept of the rule of law.
Teacher tip


This content is © Oak National Academy Limited (2024), licensed on Open Government Licence version 3.0 except where otherwise stated. See Oak's terms & conditions (Collection 2).



6 Questions

Choose two correct examples of John demonstrating his untrustworthiness and greed?
Correct answer: he plotted to take his brother Richard’s lands
he plotted to take Spanish lands
Correct answer: he tried to persuade his brother Richard's captor to keep him prisoner
he tried to persuade his brother Richard's captor to make him an advisor
Which two unpopular taxes caused anger amongst the barons? Select two correct answers.
community tax
poll tax
Correct answer: scutage
Correct answer: tallage
Why was King John known as 'Softsword'?
because he was famous for his swordsmanship
because he was known for his soft and gentle rule
because he would be quick to engage in battles
Correct answer: because he would do anything to avoid battles
What rumours began shortly after Arthur of Brittany's capture?
rumours that John had formed an alliance with Arthur
Correct answer: rumours that John had murdered Arthur
rumours that John had set Arthur free
What ancestral homeland did John lose?
Correct answer: Normandy
Match the key words with the correct definitions.
Correct Answer:crusade,military mission ordered by the Pope

military mission ordered by the Pope

Correct Answer:tax,compulsory payment to the government to cover various costs

compulsory payment to the government to cover various costs

Correct Answer:ancestral ,relating to members of your family from the past

relating to members of your family from the past

6 Questions

What was an important factor that led to the barons' anger towards King John between 1205-1213?
his alliance with the Pope
Correct answer: his disagreement with the Church
his successful military campaigns
his support for peasants
Write the missing word. King John met the rebellious barons at and agreed to the demands of Magna Carta.
Correct Answer: Runnymede, runnymede
What was the core requirement of the Magna Carta regarding the powers of the king?
to expand the king's powers over all nobles
Correct answer: to limit the king's powers
to strengthen the king's powers over foreign affairs
What is the 'rule of law' as mentioned in the context of Magna Carta?
a system where the king makes all laws
a theory of an all-powerful monarchy
a legal system that only those below the king must obey
Correct answer: a legal system that everyone, including the king, must obey
Which of the following best describes the term 'radical' as used in the context of the Magna Carta?
advancing gradual reforms
believing in traditional values
Correct answer: supporting extreme reform
upholding the king's authority
Starting with the earliest, sort the following events into time order.
1 - King John was ordered to publicly submit to the Pope
2 - A rebellion led by Robert FitzWalter spreads across England
3 - King John is forced to agree to Magna Carta

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