Collectanea satis copiosa


For about two years, a team of scholars and royal agents gathered together and studied manuscripts that would provide evidence to buttress King Henry VIII’s claims that his annulment of marriage to Catherine of Aragon 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.

Full title:
Papers relating to the Reformation
2nd quarter of the 16th century
Illuminated manuscript
© British Library
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Cotton MS Cleopatra E VI, ff. 37v-38

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