Illustration of Henry VIII on throne from Valor Ecclestiasticus, catalogue reference: E344/22


Henry VIII is one of the best-known monarchs in history. He is perhaps as famous for his many romantic entanglements as for being king. Henry may have been daunted by the challenge of monarchy at the age of 17, although he seems to have found his feet soon afterwards.

Our collection of records from the reign of Henry VIII show how Henry developed his own image to make himself seem even more powerful.

Detail from portrait of Henry VIII by Holbein, Hans the Younger – reproduced courtesy of Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Madrid, Spain and The Bridgeman Art Library


Stories of Henry VIII and his six wives have been told for centuries. We hold many records relating to his marriages, including an account of Anne Boleyn’s trial for high treason.

The role of king came with a vast amount of wealth attached, although Henry wanted more. Our iconic document from Henry VIII’s reign, Valor Ecclesiasticus, shows how Henry assessed his wealth.

Close-up of handwritten text from Valor Ecclestiasticus, catalogue reference: E344/22


The records that we hold from Henry VIII’s reign are now 500 years old. The National Archives looks after these documents, along with around ten million others, in carefully controlled conditions.

Here we explain more about the records themselves, and explain how we preserve them for the enjoyment of future generations.