Inventory of Henry VIII's assets on his death
Shelfmark: Harley Ms. 1419 A, f.206
Commissioners appointed in September 1547 took 18 months to compile an inventory of Henry VIII’s movable goods.
The first part of the surviving inventory includes money, jewels, plate, artillery, munitions, ships, arms, armour, horses, masque garments, tents, liturgical vestments and books. The second covers other items in the principal royal residences and wardrobes or stores. The inventory includes hundreds of thousands of objects.
The contents of Henry’s palaces, particularly Whitehall, show that he was an insatiable collector of beautiful and costly things. They presented to his subjects and to foreign visitors a cumulative impression of dazzling royal magnificence. He possessed lavishly decorated furniture, numerous pictures, great quantities of jewellery, over 2,000 pieces of tapestry (the largest collection on record) and 2,028 pieces of plate.
Henry’s military resources included 70 ships, 400 guns and 6,500 handguns in the Tower of London and 2,250 guns in other coastal and border fortresses.