Anglo-American Press Gleanings

Britain Bars Divorce Documents of King Henry VIII Leaving Country

Contributed by Neil Inglis, from a press release by Sue Leeman on 13 May, 2002.

The British government barred the foreign sale of a treatise that helped bring about the historic divorce of King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, saying it is of “immense historical importance” to Britain. British buyers have until 13 July to come up with $940,000 to prevent the document from being offered on the international market. The treatise, which addresses the question of whether a man may marry the widow of his deceased brother, as Henry had done in wedding Catherine, was written in 1530 by Jacobus Calchus, a Carmelite friar.

“The argument set out in its pages was part of the process that led to a critical moment in English history - the break with Rome and the establishment of the Church of England,” said Arts Minister Baroness Blackstone. “Even in its own right, the document is remarkable, representing as it does one of the finest of the earliest gilt bindings. I very much hope that sufficient funds will be raised to allow it to stay in the country.” Blackstone’s decision is in line with a recommendation by the government’s Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art, which controls the foreign sale of British artworks. If a serious British bid emerges before 13 July, Blackstone has the power to extend the period of grace to 13 October.

Calchus first came to England in 1529, when Henry was urgently seeking opinions supporting a divorce from Catherine, so that he could marry Anne Boleyn, the second of his six wives. Calchus’ argument in the 34-page Latin treatise that conscience takes moral priority over the pope helped persuade Henry to go ahead with the divorce.

Henry, who had the manuscript bound in calf leather by his favorite binder, claimed his marriage to Catherine was invalid because she was the widow of his brother, Arthur. Church authorities agreed with her argument that her first marriage did not count because it had not been consummated.

The Department of Arts and Culture could provide no details of who is selling the document. From 1687 until the 20th century, the document was part of the collection of the 11th Earl of Kent, housed at Wrest Park in southern England.

The White Horse Inn

Compiled by Valerie Offord
Taken from an article, drawn to her attention by Neil Inglis, entitled ‘The White Horse Inn’ by Zach Kincaid in Tedsbridge (Spring edition 2002), a publication of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois, USA.

The name ‘White Horse Inn’ stained in glass over the entrance to the meeting rooms below the chapel at Trinity College could easily go undetected. ‘Inn’ is, in fact, the result of a typical compromise. ‘Tavern’ was the first suggestion of Trinity faculty members: the original ‘White Horse Tavern’ was located King’s Parade, just past King’s College in St Edward’s parish, Cambridge, England. This tavern, dating from the 16th century, was demolished in 1830 during reconstruction of the west side of the street.

It was only a short time after the flurry of reformation begun by Martin Luther in 1517 with the nailing of his 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg castle church in Germany that this gale of reform reached England and, more particularly, as the story goes, a pub on King’s Parade called the White House Tavern. Eamon Duffy maintains that ‘It was known as Little Germany because it was the centre for discussion about the exciting and dangerous ideas of Martin Luther’. The men who met here would convey these ideas from commoner to king, from England to Europe yet again. The messengers, however, would offer their lives to establish the truths of faith they had disputed over pints in that Cambridge alehouse.

The author of the article then continues by speculating on a list of men who may have gathered there and briefly discusses their activities: - Robert Barnes, Thomas Bilney, Thomas Cranmer, Hugh Latimer, Matthew Parker, Nicholas Ridley and William Tyndale.

He concludes by remarking to his readers that as you gaze on the walls of the Trinity White Horse Inn, adorned with the block prints from Theodore Beza’s Icones (1580), as you discuss the peculiarities of God and his person, as you pray, count the cost of the gospel. As those who have gone before, you too may sit in the tavern but a moment and then be asked by Christ ‘Take up your cross and follow me.’

Valid XHTML 1.0!