This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Sunday Rest: Runnymede. Word Not To Use Today. has a ring to it, doesn't it. You feel that something important and dignified happened at Gettysburg.

Versailles, too. And Paris. These names have dignity. Poise. Bottom.

But as for Runnymede...

The 15th June 1215 saw the sealing of Magna Carta (it just means Big Charter) by Bad King John (and he was bad: very, very bad. He was, indeed, morally and practically almost completely useless). It all happened at a place called Runnymede.

Runnymede is a meadow beside the River Thames not far outside London. Nearby is a small island called Magna Carta Island, and this may actually have been where the Magna Carta was sealed (as well as at the bottom). But generally people say it was Runnymede.

A mede is a meadow, and although Runnymead is a water meadow (see picture) the Runny bit doesn't come from the fact that you need your wellington boots to get across it. No, Runny is probably derived from the Anglo-Saxon runieg, which means regular meeting.

So, what was this Magna Carta thing all about? 

Well, it went on a bit, but basically it said that everyone (especially Bad King John) had to obey the law. Magna Carta marked the beginning of things beginning to get fairer for everybody, and is therefore a Very Good Thing.

But Runnymede, I ask you. Couldn't they have chosen somewhere with a bit more of a ring to it? 

Still, I suppose I have to admit it's not as bad as the Diet of Worms,

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