King Henry VIII
Henry VIII was King of England from April 21, 1509 until his death on January 28, 1547.
Historically, he is well remembered for his 6 wives: Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Katherine Parr.
His life and times have been widely studied, as one of the most intriguing kings in English history.
The king's role in the separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church changed the face of religion in England, and has had a lasting effect that is still felt around the world today.
His struggles with Rome lead to the separation of the Church of England from papal authority, establishing himself as the Supreme Head of the Church of England.
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.
A rare petition from John and Dorothy Wingfield to King Henry VIII requesting the right to rent of 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.
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."
The document has been signed "Henry" by the king, suggesting that it was signed following the Reformation. Prior to this, he signed documents "Henri".
The signature is followed by a large R signifying the words, Rex Omnibus, meaning "king of all" in latin.
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.
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.
This 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.
It is very rare for a document such as this one to leave the Crown Office.
Unsurprisingly, few documents have survived the 460+ years since Henry's death.
Those that have withstood the tests of time are currently 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.