HENRY VIII, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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Fine letter signed and subscribed by Henry VIII

HENRY VIII (1491-1547). King of England and Ireland.
Letter Signed and Subscribed ('Vester bonus amicus / Henry R'), in latin, 1 page, 14 x 12½ inches (360 x 320 mm.) with address on the reverse, London, 25 July 1529. To John III, Duke of Cleves and Jülich-Berg, whose daughter, Anne of Cleves, was later (and rather briefly) Henry's fourth wife.

An extremely fine and historical significant document, begging the duke of intervene in aid of the kidnapped Sir Laurence Stauber (Stayber) [the 'Nuremberg agent'] who was making 'a journey towards us' and 'in a certain town under the government of the most Reverend Lord Archbishop of Cologne, was grossly attacked and taken prisoner by certain bandits and robbers, and until now has been kept captive by them.' Henry says 'we take this very hardly' and asks the Prince 'to interpose your effort, help and favour for us' so that 'our aforesaid servant may be released as soon as possible from the said robbers and may be sent away unharmed.' He reminds the Prince that he relied on his good offices in a similar case 'in freeing from the hands of bandits the worshipful Sir John Walopp'. Prince John was as successful in this instance as in the earlier one. Staybar returned safely to England in February 1530.

Peter Vannes (c.1488-1568), whose elegant humanistic hand is displayed in this document, is an intriguing historical figure in his own right. Born in Lucca, he came to the English court in 1513 and became Latin secretary to Cardinal Wolsey in 1514. He acquired several lucrative ecclesiastical preferments including ultimately the deanery of Salisbury. Henry VIII employed him on diplomatic missions, notably the embassy in this year of 1529 to Pope Clement VII to try to pursuade him to declare Henry's marriage to Katherine of Aragon void or to permit him to keep two wives. Oxford DNB describes how 'Vannes was encouraged to use whatever means necessary to secure support, including hiring advocates, bribing cardinals, and even threatening the pope with the withdrawal of English allegiance to Rome'.
[No: 26486]

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