Anne Boleyn, ‘the late Quene’, from The Inventory of King Henry VIII

Henry VIII in later life, Hever Castle

Six months after the death of King Henry VIII in 1547, a formal inventory of his moveable property was drawn up. The inventory took eighteen months to complete and according to David Starkey is more than simply ‘big and fat’ (which it is!), ‘it is also a key document for a reappraisal of the reign’ (Pg. x).

The commissioners task was to survey ‘all suche readie money plate Juelles apparel Silkes household stuff Stable stuff Muniction artillerye Tentes Revelles and other ymplementes goodes or Cattalles whatsoeuer.’ (Starkey, Pg. ix)

There are 17,810 items listed and among these are over two thousand pieces of tapestry and 2,208 pieces of plate! These items were often put on show to assert Henry’s great power and wealth. Henry VIII received foreign dignitaries surrounded by these royal treasures and at times made them accessible to the public.

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