Runnymede - UK, England

Runnymede is a water meadow in National Trust ownership on the banks of the Thames between Old Windsor and Egham but in the past may also have included Magna Carta Island on the opposite bank. Both are considered plausible locations for the sealing of the Magna Carta in 1215 by King John which had an impact on common and constitutional law, political representation and the development of parliament. The name Runnymede is thought to be Anglo-Saxon for a place in the meadows used to hold regular meetings in the open air. The Witan, Witenagemot or Council of the Anglo-Saxon Kings of the 7th to 11th centuries was held here from time to time during the reign of Alfred the Great. The Council developed in succeeding years leading eventually to the creation of England's 13th century parliament. Magna Carta Island was also the meeting-place of Henry III and Louis (afterwards Louis VIII) of France in 1217. Near the Island, on the north-east flood plain, in park land, are Ankerwycke and the ruins of the twelfth-century Priory of St Mary's.