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.

The Project's scope does not extend to people who emigrated to America after 1700.

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, and improving profiles in the trails.

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'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.
The project also acts as a profile manager for Surety Barons themselves and for the Illustrious Men recorded in the Magna Carta as counsellors of King John.


How to Join

Are you interested in the Magna Carta Project?magna_carta.gif

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 Leadership


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. The best ways to contact the project or involve it in issues are to use
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 all project members who have joined the Google Group to watch over the project's profiles.

Profile Comments

The Comments section on Magna Carta Project-managed profiles is meant to be used for collaboration on sourcing, discussion of the details of the person's life and/or disputed facts, and profile/trail review status. These comments are forwarded to all of the Project's Google Group members for review. We ask that you please do not use profile comments to add information about your personal relationship to these individuals. These comments will be removed from project-managed profiles. By all means celebrate your connection with people whose profiles the Project manages - but you can do this on your own personal profile or on a free space page. See WikiTree's Descendant, Relationship and Connection stickers for more ways to share your personal relationships on your own profile.

Project Guidelines


The G2G welcome post (see the link in How to Join, above) includes information on requirements for members. There is more detail on the Magna Carta Project Members page: please read this page before asking to become a project member.
Almost 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). New members without pre-1500 certification initially join the project's post-1500 team. Those who have the pre-1500 badge join either or both of the pre-1500 and post-1500 teams. We ask new members to commit to bringing up to project standards, within 6 months, six profiles that are in need of substantial work.
The project frequently co-manages profiles, especially for the immigrant ancestors (Gateway Ancestors), with other projects. Our project members get a lot of practice at collaboration!

Other ways of pursuing your interest in Magna Carta Ancestry

Many WikiTree members are interested in their relationship to Magna Carta Surety Barons. If you are one of them, you can

Naming Standards

Last Name at Birth: 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. Although the Project's main reference is Richardson's Magna Carta Ancestry, the Last Name at Birth may not match the Richardson entry (Richardson tends to standardize the spelling of a name). Be aware that last name spellings for many families did not settle down until after our period, and that people may have their name spelt in several different ways - sometimes surprising - in different records and sources.
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 medieval euroaristo LNAB).
Do not use Latin forms for proper first name, last name at birth or current last name, even if they appear in records.
Datafields: For other profile datafields, please see the Project's Datafield Guide. For specific guidelines about project profiles, see the Project's checklist.

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.
Project-managed profiles:
Introductory pages
Collaboration pages:
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: ~ Thiessen-117 17:21, 19 April 2021 (UTC)

This page was last modified 14:32, 23 September 2023. This page has been accessed 96,585 times.