King Henry VIII of England

Henry VIII Signed Rare Life Grant On the Day of Signing His Will, Scarce!

Henry VIII Signed Rare Life Grant On the Day of Signing His Will, Scarce!



Extremely Rare Life Grant Signed by HENRY VIII as "Henry R". One page, oblong, large folio, vellum. Dated Westminster, December 30, 1546, the body written in a fine secretarial hand in Latin on vellum in brown ink. Single leaf, 10 5/8 x 13 1/8 inches (26.5 x 33 cm), 31 lines, a grant of the offices and estates, including "The Keeper of the Mansion in Southwarke" (i.e. Suffolk Palace, rebuilt in 1522 by Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk, who had later exchanged it with Henry for Norwich Palace); together with various other grants of land. The recipient was "John Gate" [presumably Sir John Gates, a courtier who was a member of King Henry VIII's Privy Chamber from 1542, and in the year of this document was a witness to the King's will, on August 30]. The document is countersigned by Sir Edward North, from 1544, Chancellor of the Court of Augmentations, and it was presumably in this role that he was signatory. The document has a central fold, along which there were losses, and this has been repaired with Japanese paper, and the entire perimeter of the document has been hinged for stability to archival board. There is some staining and soiling. It was subsequently conserved by J. Baldwin Conservation; the conservation report is attached to the rear of the frame. Attractively framed to an overall size of 26.25" wide x 42" tall. An additional piece of vellum, separated from the main document, 6.5" x 10.5" is now placed in a sleeve on the verso of the frame. Penned in English in another hand, it offers some of the above history and translation of the document.


King Henry's legacy is known mostly for his outstanding succession of marriages and the beheading of his wives, in addition to creating the separation of the church of England from the Roman Catholic church (which was initiated in order to annul his first marriage). The Crown also moved to dissolve England’s monasteries and take control of the Church’s vast property holdings from 1536-40, in what Pettegree calls “the greatest redistribution of property in England since the Norman Conquest in 1066.” All of the property reverted to the Crown, and Henry used the windfall to reward his counselors, both Protestant and conservative, for their loyalty. This signed document may very well be one such "grant" to one of his loyal members of his Chamber.



However Henry VIII did have other lesser hollywood-like legacies, he founded the English Navy, created the foundation of the Church of England,  his patronage of the Arts brought the Renaissance to England, he established the Kingdom of Ireland, remodeled government and taxation, promoted Parliament, and translated the Bible into English, and as the father of Elizabeth I. He was feared, and admired, and his death was marked by more obvious public grief than that of any other Tudor.



This is an extremely rare manuscript signed in the last weeks of Henry VIII's reign, signed with the date Henry signed his will. Henry died on the 28th of January, 1547, and signed documents from the last months of his life are uncommon; we note none dated later at auction than the present example, which was last sold at Christie's June 24, 1992, lot 369. Of the few surviving examples of documents signed by him that have come to auction in the last 15 years, each commanded prices of over $45,000.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


Item: 66480

Price: $35,000.00
King Henry VIII of EnglandKing Henry VIII of EnglandKing Henry VIII of EnglandKing Henry VIII of England
King Henry VIII of EnglandKing Henry VIII of England
King Henry VIII of England
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