Runnymede is a water-meadow alongside the River Thames in the English county of Surrey, and just over 20 miles (32 km) west of central London.
- Area:122.763 km2
- Elevation:140 m
- Local Government Area:Shire of Campaspe
Runnymede is a water-meadow alongside the River Thames in the English county of Surrey, and just over 20 miles (32 km) west of central London. It is notable for its association with the sealing of Magna Carta, and as a consequence is, with its adjoining hillside, the site of memorials. Runnymede Borough is named after the area, Runnymede being at its northernmost point.
Runnymede's historical significance has been heavily influenced by its proximity to the Roman Road river crossing at nearby Staines-upon-Thames.
The name Runnymede may be derived from the Anglo-Saxon runieg (regular meeting) and mede (mead or meadow), describing a place in the meadows used to hold regular meetings. The Witan, Witenagemot or Council of the Anglo-Saxon Kings of the 7th to 11th centuries was held from time to time at Runnymede during the reign of Alfred the Great. The Council met usually in the open air. This political organ was transformed in succeeding years, influencing the creation of England's 13th century parliament.
The water-meadow at Runnymede is the most likely location at which, in 1215, King John sealed Magna Carta. The charter indicates Runnymede by name as "Ronimed. inter Windlesoram et Stanes" (between Windsor and Staines). Magna Carta affected common and constitutional law as well as political representation also affecting the development of parliament.Runnymede's association with ideals of democracy, limitation of power, equality and freedom under law has attracted placement there of monuments and commemorative symbols.
The last fatal duel in England took place in 1852, on Priest Hill, a continuation of Cooper's Hill by Windsor Great Park.
The National Trust land was donated in 1929 by Cara Rogers Broughton and her two sons. The American-born widow of Urban Hanlon Broughton, she was permitted by letter from George V to join her son's new peerage in tribute to her husband and this gift and be officially styled Lady Fairhaven. The gift was given in memory of Urban Broughton. At the time the New Bedford Standard-Times commented "It must be a source of gratification to all Americans, and especially to us here and in Fairhaven, that the presentation of this historic spot as public ground has been brought about by an American woman, an appropriate enough circumstance considering that the great charter underlies the USA's conception of government and human rights."
## Runnymede Eco Village
Between 2012 and 2015 Cooper's Hill was occupied by a radical community living in self-build houses, huts, benders and tents, in the self-proclaimed "Runnymede Eco Village". Around 40 people, including a few young families, lived in a dispersed settlement throughout the 4 acres of woodland. They used mainly reclaimed material to build living structures, solar power to generate electricity, wood burners for heat, cultivated some vegetables and kept chickens and geese. Water was obtained from springs on the site, and the village was largely hidden from view from outside the woodland. The members called themselves "Diggers" after the 17th-century movement of that name. There were two unsuccessful attempts to evict the settlers in the first year of occupation; and on 30 March 2015 a further High Court trespass notice was served by bailiffs on behalf of the landowners, Orchard Runnymede Ltd. The settlers were still in occupation during the Magna Carta 800th anniversary celebrations on 15 June, but their presence did not affect proceedings, and the eviction was completed at a later date.
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