John granted several charters to the city, and it was expressly stipulated in Magna Charta that the city of London should have all its ancient privileges and free customs. The citizens opposed the king during the wars of the barons.
This document, which has been called the Magna Charta of the Indian people, went on to explain the policy of political justice and religious toleration which it was her royal pleasure to pursue, and granted an amnesty to all except those who had directly taken part in the murder of British subjects.
It was not until the 12th and 13th centuries that modern national states really took shape: England with its trial by jury, circuit courts, Magna Charta and parliament; France under the strong hand of the Capetians.
Within the parish, bordering the river, is the field of Runnymede, which, with Magna Charta Island lying off it, is famous in connexion with the signature of the charter by King John.
In Magna Charta there is a proviso that foreign merchants shall be treated as English merchants are treated in the country whence the travellers came.