King Henry VIII Autographed Document

SKU: PT319

Sale price£55,000
In stock


  • Bold, clear signature from Henry VIII - one of England's most iconic monarchs
  • Exceptional content relating to a loan to Sir Richard Gresham, the father of founder of the London Stock Exchange Sir Thomas Gresham
  • Provenance from Sir Thomas Phillipps, who was renowned for the largest collection of manuscripts in the 19th century
  • Vellum document in superb condition dated 1513 - the year Henry VIII invaded France

Henry VIII was King of England from April 21, 1509 until his death on January 28, 1547.

Henry's six wives - Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Katherine Parr - are the stuff of legend.

Henry's struggles with Rome led to the separation of the Church of England from Papal authority, establishing him as the Supreme Head of the Church of England. The move changed the face of religion in England, and has had a lasting effect that is felt around the world today.

Henry VIII is also remembered as "one of the most charismatic rulers to sit on the throne of England", as well as a keen patron of the arts, himself being an author and composer.

Description & history

Henry signs a large and bold "Henry R" - short for Henry "Rex Omnibus", the Latin for "king of all".

A large 11.3 x 8.5 inches - perfect for display.

The document is addressed to John Heron, the Treasurer of the Chamber. In it King Henry VIII advises Heron of a loan to then cloth merchant Richard Gresham.

"Richard Gresham of oure Citie of London with other stonde bounde by obligacion for the payment to oure use of the somme of Sixe hundred thirty seven poundes and ten shillynges at a certayn daie expired".

Henry VIII informs Heron that the payment to Gresham should be delayed for two years upon existing sureties from Gresham, and that Heron should retain Gresham's bond.

The sum of money involved is considerable: £637 10s, which equates to £3.9 million today, based on the average earnings index.

At the time of the loan, the 29-year-old Richard Gresham was a major English cloth merchant trading in Antwerp. He later served as the Lord Mayor of London, a Member of Parliament and was a major financier to the crown - an extremely influential figure.

The loan from Henry VIII enabled Gresham to found the House of Gresham, one of the most celebrated mercantile and financial houses of the 16th Century. His son, Sir Thomas Gresham, further increased the family fortune and founded the Royal Exchange in the City of London - London's first bourse and the forerunner to London's Stock Exchange.

As this document describes the loan that helped Gresham found his empire, it is of the utmost importance. Gresham's influence on London is still felt to this day.


The document once formed part of the collection of Sir Thomas Phillipps, a British Baronet who amassed the largest collection of manuscript material in the 19th Century. His chief collecting rival was the British Library - a testament to the value of his collection.


Henry VIII is recognised globally due to his role in the historically important changes to religion and his somewhat unorthodox approach to marriage. It is thus not surprising that items related to him are highly sought after by collectors of both historical and royal memorabilia.

Due to Henry VIII's historical significance, most documents related to his reign are kept in institutions such as the British Library, the National Archives and the British Museum, and are unlikely to reappear on the collectors' market.

Only a limited number of privately owned documents have survived the 470+ years since Henry VIII's reign and documents of this quality are exceptionally rare.

Paul Fraser’s view:

"Henry VIII signatures come up for sale very rarely - most are in museums or libraries.

"The historical importance of the document makes it particularly special.

"If it wasn't for Henry's loan to Richard Gresham, he may never have made his fortune, and his son Thomas would never have had the opportunity to establish the Royal Exchange - the precursor to London's Stock Exchange.

"And you can't get much better than provenance from Sir Thomas Phillipps, the manuscript collector of the 19th century."

Click here to discover even more about this item.

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