Film: 3916

History | 1950 | Sound | Colour

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Synopsis:

A simple review of English History 1066 - 1215.
Historical reconstruction of the signing of the Magna Carta by King John. Also 1066 Norman conquest, Battle of Hastings and Bayeaux tapestry with William the Conqueror and the Domesday Book. Henry 1. Exchequer. Stephen and Richard the Lionheart. The crusades.

Opening shot of a Gothic building and then of heralds at meeting which led to Magna Carta. Next, shots of Bayeux Tapestry. 1066 Norman Conquest. Sounds of battle. Saxons defeated at Hastings. William and followers are seen riding and hunting. Saxon peasant is seen being pursued for killing a stag. Feudal system is introduced - king owns all land. It is held by barons who in turn lease it to their vassals. Roger of Wendover, a historian, is seen at work. Domesday Book was survey of England to form basis of taxation. This was unpopular with the barons.
Next scene: the coronation of Henry I. He introduced counting by the Exchequer, rather than Roman numerals for the purposes of taxation. Disgruntled barons are seen looking at this primitive adding machine. In the past, taxes had been collected rather haphazardly. Under Henry, the system was made more efficient. Henry was succeeded by his nephew Stephen - a reign of terror. Henry II seemed better at first but he too wanted money. Judges rather then barons administered justice and remitted fines to the king. Shots of anxious barons and of calculations at the exchequer. Scenes of Richard Lionheart fighting at Crusades. He too needed money to finance. His brother John succeeded in 1199. Scene of coronation by Archbishop of Canterbury in Westminster Abbey.
Discontent of barons increased. In 1215, they met King John at Runnymede and made him accept the "Great Charter" - Magna Carta.


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