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WURTS MAGNA CHARTA provided a brief accounting of the feudal headquarters of some of the Magna Charta Barons. Some of the castles have been badly damaged. Some have disappeared entirely. Often we can learn of them through Medieval and Renaissance accounts, and some of them require the discerning eye of the archeologist. Others await the evidence brought out with a shovel and pick, by the trained archeological historian.
A portion of the information concerning Surety Baron WILLIAM de HARDELL is as follows:
WILLIAM de HARDELL, the Surety, was Mayor of the City of London at the time of the insurrection of the Barons. It is highly probable that it was he who induced the citizens to deliver up one of the entrances of the City to the Barons, the one called the Aldgate, through which they passed Sunday morning, 17 May 1215, while the people were at Mass.
There is no evidence that Hardell was a feudal Baron or a Baron by tenure and, since he was a civil officer of so early a period, there is some doubt as to the arms attributed to him. He served as sheriff of the City of London in 1207, and was the first Mayor of the City by popular election in 1215, by consent of King John. It was at his installation that the "Ridings" or Lord Mayor's Shows were instituted when the candidate was obliged by Royal command to ride in state to Westminster, where the Royal palace was situated and where the judges sat, to be presented for the King's approval.
Appreciation is expressed to Reed M. W. Wurts, one of the Heralds of the Society for furnishing the Barons Shield on this page.