HENRY VIII, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts



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Henry VIII confiscates a load of woad ...

HENRY VIII (1491-1547). King of England and Ireland.
Document Signed ('Henry R' at the head), 1 page folio (oblong, 185 x 290 mm., 7¼ x 11½ inches) with address on the reverse, Greenwich, 22 June IV Henry VIII [1512]. In fine condition with two old tears and minor blemishes professionally consolidated.

Commanding the recipient, Sir John Cutte (d. 1521, the under treasurer) to take possession of 38 barrels of woad which had been seized from a London merchant, William Holys (Hollis) and forfeited to the crown, and to grant the moyte (moeity, i.e. half) to Wylliam Gower, groom of the chamber, by way of reward.

Woad [isatis tinctoria] was grown throughout western Europe to be used in making blue dye. Its importation into England required a licence, and it would appear from this document that William Hollis had failed to acquire one. The process of making the dye produced so noxious a smell that woad dyers were not allowed to live on the outskirts of towns, and Queen Elizabeth it is said to have ordered that they were not to come within five miles of any place where she was staying.

'Trusty and welbiloved we grete you well. And where as we by our l[ett]res under oure pr[ivi]e Seale w[i]t[h] you remaynyng being date at o[u]r manour of Grenwich the xiiijth daye of June this present iiijth yere of o[u]r Reigne gave and graunted by way of rewarde unto o[u]r welbiloved s[er]vaunte Wyll[iam] Gower grome of o[u]r chamber the moyte of xxxviij barelles of woad of the goodes of Will[ia]m Holys of london m[er]chaunt whiche were arested and seased for us and to o[u]r use in o[u] porte of london by willym partriche and others. And as we bee informed ye in no wise will suffer o[u]r said s[er]vaunte to enioye oure forfand graunte ... . Wherefore we ... by thies oure l[ett]res co[m]maunde you that ye uppon the sight hereof deliv[er] unto o[u]r said s[er]vaunte suche tarle or tarles as shalbe necessarie and requisite to o[u]r said s[er]vaunte for the recov[er]y of the said forfeiture according to theffecte and tenure of o[u] said p[riv]ie seale. Any restraunte or co[m]maundement taken before this to the contrary herof made notw[i]t[h]standing. Geven under o[u]r signet at o[u]r mano[ur] of Grenewiche the xxiiti day of June the iiijth yere of oure reigne.'

Address on the reverse: 'To oure trusty and welbiloved knighte for S[i]r John Cutte oure undertreasourer'.

[No: 25943]

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