Search This Blog


Magna Carta and Fort York

I've wanted to do this blog post for ages... but it was hard to do because it was the last time we were really happy before my Uncle passed away.

Last October, we went to see the Magna Carta exhibition at Fort York. It was our very first time in the Visitor Centre.

They had on display the Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest from 1300 which is owned by Durham Cathedral in England.

King John was the youngest son of Henry II and noone expected him to be king, but his older brothers died without having children of their own. He inherited the crown and a lot of debt because of the war with France.

He pressured the barons for money through high taxes and they protested and captured London. They got him to sign the Magna Carta in 1215 which would limit his powers... but he didn't stick to his agreement. The Pope annulled the charter!

In Feudal England, the Barons were rich and controlled large tracts of land which they rented out to peasants. The wealthiest barons expected to be able to advise the king and they felt that king was taxing them too much. The king 'sold' wealthy noble widows in marriage, held the children of the nobility for ransom and taxed the use of forest lands.

Commoners had to give a share of their harvest to the barons, and they lived in small huts and had very little money. They had to get permission to leave the land they worked on.
The Magna Carta didn't really change much for the peasants at the time but it allowed the following generations to enact changes which would help them to secure their rights.

After the Pope annulled the 1st version of the Magna Carta, there were other versions, with later kings.

Here is the charter of the Forest.
Forests were deer hunting areas which were for the king's use. Barons could get licenses to hunt foxes or badgers. This was a source of revenue for the king.

And here I am looking at the Magna Carta.

They had an interactive display which explained what the Magna Carta meant.

And they also had displays that explained the significance of the Magna Carta.

The Magna Carta inspired the Canadian Parliamentary Government.

It also inspired other former British Colonies...

Here is a short youtube video that talks about the Magna Carta.

There was a display at Fort York about "Rights, Justice and Democracy: Toronto Perspectives".

We saw boxes that were carved in the Toronto Gaol by men who were imprisoned for being involved in the failed 1837 Upper Canadian Rebellion.

There was a display about "An Act to prevent the further introduction of Slaves" (1793)

After we went through the exhibits, we went to explore Fort York.
Niinwin-Dabaadjmowin - We Are Talking
created under the leadership of Philip Cote and Rebecca Baird with young people from the Na-Me-Res Tumivut Youth Shelter

It was a beautiful, quiet day and we got to leisurely explore the grounds.
Officers' Barracks (left) and Blockhouse (right)

Officers' Brick Barracks


Officers' Mess

inside the Officers' Mess

Archeological dig area under the Officers' Brick Barracks


Weapons Display inside the Block House

Diorama of Fort York and the surrounding area 

And here are some pictures of me with Mom and Dad.

1 comment:

  1. Another great blog! Thanks for sharing your history adventures, Josh! We love all the photos too - it looks like you had an awesome time :)