Henry VIII was a renaissance man and his court was a centre of artistic and scholarly innovation and glamorous excess.
The King was an accomplished musician and a competent performer on the lute.
Henry maintained a considerable musical establishment at his homes and castles.
On December 14 1533 he signed a letter addressed to the Keeper of The Great Wardrobe, Lord Windsor, asking him to provide livery for six of the King's sackbut players.
A sackbut was a musical instrument similar to a modern day trombone.
The sackbut players Mark Anthony, Peregrine Symon, Nicholas Shakbote, Lewis Vincle, Nicholas Andrewe and Anthony Symon were each to be allowed:
"fowertene yards of chamlet for a gowne price evry yarde iii s iii d lt to evry of them a furre of blak bogy"
In case you're wondering; a blak bogy was a lamb's skin.
Henry's signed letter continues to explain further fabrics that the sackbut players will require.
The document has a Royal signet seal in the foot.
It has one small hole in the left margin, not affecting the signature, but is otherwise remarkably clean and in crisp condition.
Historical documents of this era are exceptionally rare.
Written in 1533 this document is now over 475 years old.
To put that in perspective...
133 years before the Great Fire of London (1666).
243 years before the US Declaration of Independence.
A stunning piece of British History.
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