Project: Magna Carta

Categories: Magna Carta Project | Magna Carta Project Current Pages | Pre-1700 Projects

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Welcome to the Magna Carta Project!

Artist rendering of King John reluctantly signing Magna Carta,
overseen by barons and abbots.

Magna Carta (Great Charter) was an agreement on 15 June 1215 between John, King of England, and twenty-five rebellious barons, establishing certain limits on the authority of the king. For centuries thereafter, it was considered a foundation of English law. The ideals of Magna Carta inspired notions of individual liberty in the charters of the English colonies in North America, and later the Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States of America.

The Magna Carta Project was created in March 2014 to improve the profiles of the twenty-five medieval barons who were surety for Magna Carta and the sixteen Illustrious Men listed as King John's counselors in its preamble.

In the run-up to the 800th anniversary celebration of Magna Carta in June 2015, project members worked diligently to improve and categorize profiles on trails to the sureties from proven American colonial Gateway Ancestors who were their descendants, as documented by Douglas Richardson in his 2011 Magna Carta Ancestry (with updated information published in his Royal Ancestry in 2013). Richardson's works were chosen in order to provide a single focal point for the major undertaking the project had set for itself.

By June 2015, in just over a year, project members had documented and improved over seventy lineages and hundreds of profiles on these Magna Carta trails. Although the celebration is over, we continue to work on additional trails and on maintaining the trails previously completed.

If you would like to help improve Magna Carta-related profiles on WikiTree and develop trails from Magna Carta Surety Barons to Gateway Ancestors, we'd love to have you join us! Click the link to our G2G welcome post in the box below & post an answer there. The project has two participation levels you can choose from: Affiliate member and Badged member (see details in the G2G join post; see definitions in the project's glossary).


The project's main goal is to have a badged trail to a surety baron for each Richardson-documented Gateway Ancestor. Profiles in a badged trail have been reviewed by project members for accuracy, giving WikiTree members and visitors high-quality information about hundreds of descendants of the surety barons.


How to Join

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Surety Barons

William d'Albini
Hugh Bigod
Roger Bigod
Henry de Bohun
Gilbert de Clare
Richard de Clare
John (Clavering) FitzRobert
Robert FitzWalter
William de Forz
William Hardell
William de Huntingfield
John de Lacy
William de Lanvalay
William Malet
Geoffrey de Mandeville
William Marshal
Roger de Montbegon
Richard de Montfichet
William de Mowbray
Richard de Percy
Saher de Quincy
Robert de Ros
Geoffrey de Say
Robert de Vere
Eustace de Vescy

† These eight barons have no descendants after four generations and do not link to any colonial Gateway Ancestors.

Illustrious Men

Phillipe d’Aubigny
William d'Aubigny
Alan Basset
Thomas Basset
Hubert de Burgh
Warin FitzGerold
Matthew FitzHerbert
Piers FitzHerbert
John FitzHugh
Alan of Galloway
John Marshal
William Marshal
Hugh de Neville
William Longespée
Robert de Roppesley
William de Warenne

Project Leaders


The project is organised into teams:
More information about membership of teams is on the Project Members page.
Base Camp enables us to keep track of work on the trails from Magna Carta Surety Barons to Gateway Ancestors which are the ultimate goal of the project. In Base Camp you can see trails that have been completed but need review and trails ready to get started.
Effective collaboration needs effective communication. You can contact the project by posting to WikiTree-36, but it's easier to carry on discussions using either
The Google Group is tied to the project account - WikiTree-36 - which manages the project's profiles. That means that the Google Group is notified of merge proposals and receives an e-mail copy of any comment posted to a project-managed profile, allowing us all to easily watch over the project's profiles (provided you've joined the Google Group).

Project Guidelines


The G2G welcome post (see link, above) includes information on requirements for members, as does the Magna Carta Project Members page. Badged members are listed here, Affiliate members, here.

Most all of the project's profiles are pre-1700, and after a few generations, they're all pre-1500. Magna Carta Project participants and other profile editors will need to have the pre-1700 badge (you'll need to take the pre-1700 quiz; if you don't have the pre-1500 badge, we have Sandbox pages where you can edit the text for a pre-1500 biography).

While we are not part of the European Aristocrats Project ("EuroAristo"), many Magna Carta profiles fall within the scope of both projects and we frequently work closely with EuroAristo project members. The project also frequently co-manages profiles for the immigrant ancestors (Gateway Ancestors) with other projects. Our project members, therefore, get a lot of practice at collaboration!

Naming Standards

We primarily follow the EuroAristo naming standards, except for Welsh profiles that follow the Cymru project's naming guidelines. (See this page to find naming standards used by other projects.)

WikiTree's guideline is to "use their convention, not ours". This is not always easy to determine (especially when contemporary, original sources are not available or are inconsistent). Charles Cawley's "Medieval Lands" database (see WikiTree's MedLands source page) frequently cites primary sources which might serve as a guide. Richardson's list of sources for each entry may also help. At one point, EuroAristo's standards included using the preferred spelling from MedLands for the LNAB and Richardson's spelling, if different, as an Other Last Name. If in doubt, collaborate! Post a comment on project-managed profiles and/or post to G2G (tagged appropriately, e.g., with the last names in question & magna_carta euroaristo LNAB).

Project Sources

Magna Carta Ancestry and Royal Ancestry by Douglas Richardson are the foundational sources for the Magna Carta Project. (See WikiTree's source pages for Royal Ancestry and Magna Carta Ancestry, which are maintained by the Magna Carta Project.)

We follow Richardson when there is a conflict regarding a fact on a profile that is not supported by a primary source, unless there is more recent published research[1] that adds to or corrects his work. For details on implementing this policy, please see Magna Carta Project Policy and Procedures.

For other sources of information, see the Magna Carta Project Reliable Sources page.

European Aristocrats Project favors Cokayne's Complete Peerage, but notes that it is the 2nd edition, available [here], that should be used, not the first.

The Puritan Great Migration (PGM) project uses the Great Migration series by Robert Charles Anderson, which is considered a reliable source for Magna Carta Project profiles.

  1. The term “published research” is vague, but being more definitive in the absence of actual examples is not realistic. If you have a published reference updating Richardson’s Magna Carta Ancestry (2011) or Royal Ancestry (2013), please post it to G2G and/or the Magna Carta Google Group to obtain feedback concerning the reference before making changes. For the Magna Carta project, "published research" means any publicly available documentation that adds to or corrects any information in a Magna Carta profile or trail. Such research must be viewable and supported by verifiable primary or secondary evidence following standard genealogical methods of proof and be made available for project and profile management review and discussion in the Wikitree G2G forum prior to making significant profile changes or edits.

Project Pages

Following are some key project pages. See the Quick-Nav Index for a fuller listing. An overhaul of project pages is underway, working to categorize existing pages as either Current pages or Legacy pages. (For example, this page had been added to over the years so much it was retired & redone: you can see "how it was" at the Legacy Project Page). The pages listed below may still be awaiting review.

Project-managed profiles:
Introductory pages
Collaboration pages:
5-star profiles
See also:

This is the main page for the Magna Carta Project and is up to date (although linked pages may not be current).
Updated:Cayley-55 12:38, 3 June 2020 (UTC)
Last edit: Noland-165 02:34, 1 August 2020 (UTC)

This page was last modified 06:36, 1 September 2020. This page has been accessed 62,384 times.