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Collectanea satis copiosa

Collectanea satis copiosa

Shelfmark: Cotton Ms. Cleopatra E vi, ff.37v-38

For about two years, a team of scholars and royal agents gathered together and studied manuscripts that would provide evidence to buttress Henry’s claims that his annulment of marriage to Katherine was justified and that his matrimonial case ought to be determined in England rather than Rome.

The manuscripts, which included English and Latin chronicles, Anglo-Saxon laws, Roman law and conciliar decrees, were taken from monasteries and deposited in the Royal Library. They fed into a manuscript compilation called the 'Collectanea satis copiosa' (The Sufficiently Abundant Collections) that was presented to Henry in the summer of 1530. 

The Collectanea argued that the Church of England was an autonomous province of the Catholic Church and that Henry had both secular imperium and spiritual supremacy in England. In other words, it was the King, not the Pope, who exercised supreme jurisdiction within his realm. 

It is not surprising that Henry was delighted with the work and wrote approving comments all over the manuscript. Now confident that he had right on his side, he began the campaign to persuade or force his clerics to accept and recognise his imperial pretensions.

Clips from the Channel 4 series 'Henry VIII: The mind of a tyrant'

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