- Rare document signed "Henry R" by one of England's most iconic monarchs in 1542
- Pristine condition
- Clear signature at head of page
- Exceptionally large - oblong folio on vellum
- Previously stored in the Crown Office
King Henry VIII
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
King Henry VIII's bold, clear signature features prominently on this exceptionally large document, measuring 20" x 11.5".
Henry's signature is followed by a large R signifying the words, Rex Omnibus, meaning "king of all" in Latin.
Of the utmost quality, this piece is in pristine condition, a truly remarkable feat considering its age. There are few comparables on the open market.
The document is a petition from John and Dorothy Wingfield to King Henry VIII, requesting the right to rent the priory of Woodbridge and Haspeley, the rectory of Woodbridge, and the possessions of the priory in Woodbridge, Martlesham, Great Bealings, Hasketon, Grymmesborough, Haspeley and Brandeston.
Henry's signature indicates he gives his assent to the request.
Four lines at the head of the document read:
"To the king o[u]r Soveraigne Lorde, Please it your hieghnes[s] of your mooste noble and abundant grace to gruante your mooste gracious, L[ett]ers patente under your grete Seale of England in due and sufficient fourme to, be made according to the teno[u]r herafter ensuing."
Following the addition of the King's signature, indicating that the Great Seal could now be attached, petitions such as this would have been passed on to the Chancery, where it would be formally copied and passed under the Great Seal.
The final copied document would then be passed to the petitioner and would not usually feature the king's signature.
The original, signed document - such as the example offered - would have been kept in the Crown Office.
This patent was successful and can be seen on the Patent Rolls dated Westminster, 6th March 1542.
In the upper left corner is a small notation reading, "Given me 8th June 1797 by Mr. Betts of Colchester" - presumably an addition from one of its early owners after it left the Crown Office.
It is very rare for a document such as this one to leave the Crown Office.
Unsurprisingly, few documents have survived the 470+ years since Henry's death.
Those that have withstood the tests of time are mostly held in institutions such as the British Library, the National Archives and the British Museum, leaving very few in private hands.
This is a rare opportunity to own an example of King Henry VIII's signature on such a large document in pristine condition.
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