Riverside Properties in Runnymede
Runnymede is an attractive 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 the site of a collection of memorials.
The name Runnymede is used commonly now to refer to land in National Trust ownership in the Thames flood plain south-west of the river between Old Windsor and Egham. The area comprises Long Mede and Runnymede which together with Coopers Hill Slopes is managed by the National Trust, and Yard Mede.
The landscape of Runnymede is characterised as ‘Thames Basin Lowland’, urban fringe, which is a gently undulating vale of small-scale fields interspersed by woods, shaws ponds, meadows, and heath. The National Trust area is a Site of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI) which contains a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
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 the Magna Carta. The charter indicates Runnymede by name. The Magna Carta had an impact on 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.
After the death of Urban Broughton in 1929, Sir Edwin Lutyens was commissioned to design a memorial consisting of kiosks and piers at the Egham end and with lodges and piers at the Windsor end. Lutyens also designed a low wide arch bridge to carry the main road over the Thames, integrating the road layout and bridge design into his plans for the memorials. The kiosks were moved to their present location when the M25 motorway was constructed.