Runnymede Meadow is a most unassuming historical site. This modest grassy water meadow alongside the River Thames, several miles downstream of Windsor Castle, is the location of the signing of the Magna Carta. When King John penned his name to the Magna Carta in 1215 it signified the beginning of the limitation of powers of the English monarchy and set the stage for our modern laws and government.
The Magna Carta is honored in the United States as an antecedent of the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights. In this spirit, the American Bar Association has erected a memorial to the signing of the Magna Carta just inside the trees at the edge of the meadow.
Not far from the ABA Magna Carta memorial is a memorial to John F. Kennedy. Dedicated in May 1965, the JFK memorial stands on land gifted to the United States of America; it is truly a little piece of the United States in Britain.
Visiting Runnymede by barge is easy. The water depth is sufficient to allow a riverbank mooring and a place to stake to the bank can usually be found. (A mooring fee applies.) It’s not the most serene location. Noise from cars passing on the nearby A308 is an annoyance. But there is an upside. At the edges of the day, the meadow is little visited. Staying so close allows for a quiet, contemplative visits to the historic site.