August 2020 Newsletter ~ Magna Carta Project
Welcome New Members
Profile of the Month
: John FitzHugh
Project Page of the Month
& Team Spotlight
: Membership Development Team
First and foremost - THANK YOU Magna Carta Project members, both badged and affiliate, for all you do. If you are not currently a project member and would like to join us, simply post an "answer" to our G2G join post. Let us know of your interest. We would love to have you join us.
Welcome New Members
Alistair Fraser joined as an Affiliate & Alan Pendleton joined as Gateway Guardian for Ann (Marbury) Hutchinson.
Profile of the Month: John FitzHugh
What has an Illustrious Man (and possibly a bigamist) to do with a minor zoo? Read on...
John FitzHugh was typical of several of the Illustrious Men, King John's counsellors listed in the preamble to the Magna Carta. He was one of the king's senior officials.
Apart from the name of his father - Hugh - we know nothing of his origins. One of the first records mentioning him is dated 1204, when he was granted a manor in Oxfordshire, so he was already established in royal service by then.
Like other royal officials, he had to turn his hand to a wide variety of tasks. He took possession of lands for the king. He arranged the repair of buildings and castles. He accounted for large sums of money paid into the king's coffers. By 1207 he was trusted and senior enough to be appointed Sheriff of Surrey, a post he held for six years. In 1213 he went on a diplomatic mission to Flanders. The next year he bought a large stock of weapons for the king.
John FitzHugh stayed loyal to King John throughout 1215, but something made him switch allegiance to the rebel barons the next year. One can speculate that it may have been an order to hand over some of his lands in November 1215. After he joined the rebels, his remaining lands in Oxfordshire were confiscated. He returned to allegiance to the Crown early in the reign of Henry III, after the rebel defeat in the second Battle of Lincoln. He died on crusade in 1220.
There followed a lawsuit in which his widow Gunnora's right to property was challenged on the grounds that John FitzHugh's marriage to her was bigamous and invalid. Marriage law of the time could be complicated and uncertain, but Gunnora seems to have seen off the challenge.
Which leaves the original question: what did John FitzHugh have to do with a mini-zoo? In about 1210 King John set up what was to become a royal menagerie at the Tower of London, and this included lions he'd been given. In 1212 the Pipe Rolls (royal financial records) show John FitzHugh making payments to the lion-keeper. The menagerie continued for centuries, and was finally closed in 1830, with animals being moved to London Zoo, although the former keeper maintained a smaller private menagerie at the Tower for another five years.
Project Page of the Month: Magna Carta Project Checklist
The project's Checklist is designed to walk you through developing and reviewing a profile. It was updated in May to clarify some points. If you would like to take the new and improved Checklist out for a spin, contact the project about profiles that need work (you can post an answer below or post a comment to WikiTree-36; if you're interested in joining the project, see "How to Join" on the Magna Carta Project page). Or you can test it out against a random project profile (pick a profile from one of the two main categories for project profiles - Category:Magna Carta is for badged profiles, Category:Magna Carta Profiles is for those not yet in a badged trail; see the project's glossary for project-specific terms, such as a "badged trail".
AM Team has finished an alphabetical index: see Magna Carta Project Index. For a topical index, see the Quick-Nav Index.
Post-1500, Pre-1500, and Trail Development Teams are working away at improving project profiles and developing/reviewing trails (see Base Camp for latest info). If you're interested in working on a Magna Carta Project-managed profile, follow the directions on the project's Checklist. It is ok if you are not a Team member - or even a Project member- just post a comment to the profile that you'll be working on it so that the Team leaders can update their spreadsheet.
Team Spotlight: Magna Carta Project Membership Development Team
The "Membership Team", as it is called, is led by David Douglas and Kathy Patterson. The Team is not just the Magna Carta Project's welcome wagon. The purpose of the Membership Team is to recruit and assist new members with the sign-up process, to provide up-to-date information and guidance in regards to getting started with the project, and to support the project goals by offering orientation and developmental services to new and existing members, upon member request.
The Membership Team is actively seeking a few new team members to help. If you would be interested in helping new project members get started with the project, see our Team page, or contact a Team Leader for more information on what we do and how you can help.
For more information about Teams, see last month's newsletter & the Collaboration section of the main Project page.