Literature Study GuidesThe Magna CartaSection 49 Section 53 Summary

The Magna Carta | Study Guide

King John

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The Magna Carta | Section 49–Section 53 | Summary



Section 49

The king will return hostages and deeds seized during his conflict with the barons.

Section 50

Specific people, including Gerard of Athée and his kinsmen, will lose their titles and never regain them.

Section 51

The king will make the foreign soldiers and mercenaries in his employ leave England.

Section 52

The lands, castles, liberties, and rights taken away unfairly by the king will be restored. If there arises any dispute about this, a board of 25 barons will help settle it. Slightly different procedures apply depending on if King John is the culprit or one of his predecessors.

Section 53

The same correction of wrongs described in Section 52 also applies to particular forests and abbeys. These are ones that rightfully belong to a lord and have been taken over by the king.


In Section 39, the Magna Carta states "No free man shall be ... disseised ... except by lawful judgment and the law of the land." To be "disseised" is to be deprived of land and/or other possessions. Section 39, however, only concerns future actions. The barons were upset that the king had already illegally seized lands and possessions. Thus, Section 52 is an elaboration on this particular aspect of Section 39. It includes the redress of past wrongs in this area—both by King John and by those who were kings before him. Section 53 builds on and expands on Section 52.

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