King Henry VIII
The signed document is addressed to John Heron, the Treasurer of the Chamber. In it King Henry VIII informs him:
"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 orders that "for certayne consideracions us movyng" and informs Heron that the payment of this sum 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 £3,940,000 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 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 allowed 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, and Gresham College, an independently funded educational institution in central London.
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 the Catholic Church 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.
It is not surprising that only a limited number of documents have survived the 460+ years since Henry VIII's reign and documents of this quality are exceptionally rare.
Due to Henry VIII's historical significance, many items related to his reign are kept in institutions such as British Library, The National Archives and the British Museum, and are unlikley to reappear on the collectors' market.
Exceptional content - a highly desirable piece.