"GREAT AMBYGUITEES DOUBTES AND QUESTIONS HAVE BEN MOVED IN THE MARIAGE SOLEMNIZED BETWENE THE KYNGES MAIESTEE AND THE LADY ANNE OF CLEVES": EXTRAORDINARILY RARE ACTS OF PARLIAMENT, 1540, INCLUDING THE ACT PERMITTING DEVISE BY WILL AND THE ACT DISSOLVING HENRY VIII'S MARRIAGE TO ANNE OF CLEVES
(HENRY VIII) PARLIAMENT. [Acts]. Anno XXXII Henrici Octavi. (London: Thomae Bertheleti), 1540. Slim folio (8-1/4 by 11-1/2 inches), modern three quarter blue calf, raised bands. $5500.
Extremely rare first edition of the Parliamentary Acts of 1540, featuring numerous important acts including the first post-Conquest act allowing landowners to pass their property by will and the act dissolving Henry VIII's marriage to Anne of Cleves, with lovely historiated woodcut initials, attractively bound.
The Parliamentary Acts of 1540 include two of the most important acts passed during the Tudor Era: The Statute of Wills and An Act declaring the Dissolution of the King's pretensed Marriage with the Lady Anne of Cleves. The Statute of Wills reflected a compromise with landowner who had long been frustrated by primogeniture and posthumous property transfers to the Crown. For the first time since the Norman Conquest, landowners could pass on their property by will—a major modernization that changed the landscape of Great Britain and paved the way for greater reforms. The act declaring the annulment of Henry VIII's marriage to Anne of Cleves, likewise, had a massive cultural impact. While King Henry VIII had planned to annul his marriage to Anne of Cleves since setting eyes on her evidently less than pleasing visage, Anne would go on to become the most successful of Henry VIII's wives. A passel of intelligent choices—including agreeing to the annulment two days after Parliament declared her marriage illegal—allowed Anne to survive her marriage and to become the most popular and well-treated of Henry's former wives. Overall, the Parliamentary Acts of 1540 offer insight into the early years of the Reformation. They reflect the social and political change that marked that era, from the adoption of more progressive property rights to the standardization of laws throughout Great Britain to the de-Catholicizing of the new Church of England. STC 9402. Early ink owner signature on title page. Tiny marginal notation on page 11.
Scattered mainly marginal soiling to interior, a few corners creased, binding fine. A near-fine copy of a rare and desirable item.