What to See in England
By Gordon Home
Public Domain Books
Runnymead, the Signing of Magna Charta
=How to get there.=–Train from Waterloo. L. and S.W. Railway. =Nearest Station.=–Staines. =Distance from London.=–19 miles. =Average Time.=–50 minutes.
1st 2nd 3rd =Fares.=–Single 3s. 0d. 2s. 0d. 1s. 6d. Return 5s. 0d. 3s. 6d. 2s. 9d.
=Accommodation Obtainable.=–At Staines–"Pack Horse Hotel," “Swan Hotel,” “Bridge Hotel." =Alternative Route.=–Train from Paddington to Staines. G.W.R.
Runnymede takes a prominent place among the many historical spots which crowd the banks of the Thames. The river at this point is winding and picturesque. Some doubt attaches to the exact spot where John, in 1215, realising at last that the barons were too strong for him, confirmed their articles with his hand and seal, with the full intention of breaking his word as soon as it was possible. It was either on the south side of the river, or on an island opposite the end of the meadow, now known as Magna Carta Island, that this early bulwark of freedom was granted by the king. Though there is strong tradition in favour of the meadows on the opposite bank, possibly the balance of favour is with the island. On the island there is a rough stone bearing an inscription stating that this is the celebrated spot.
The island is now private property. Above it, on the left, is a low wooded ridge known as Cooper’s Hill, from which one can enjoy some exquisite views of the Thames valley.