Artist: Joos van Cleve, Royal Collection RCIN 403368 


Henry VIII was King from 1509 until his death in 1547. He is best known for his six marriages, and, in particular, his efforts to have his first marriage (to Catherine of Aragon) annulled. His disagreement with Pope Clement VII on the question of such an annulment led Henry to initiate the English Reformation, separating the Church of England from papal authority. He appointed himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England and dissolved convents and monasteries, for which he was excommunicated. Henry is also known as "the father of the Royal Navy," as he invested heavily in the navy, increasing its size from a few to more than 50 ships, and established the Navy Board.

Domestically, Henry is known for his radical changes to the English Constitution, ushering in the theory of the divine right of kings. He also greatly expanded royal power during his reign. He frequently used charges of treason and heresy to quell dissent, and those accused were often executed without a formal trial by means of bills of attainder. He achieved many of his political aims through the work of his chief ministers, some of whom were banished or executed when they fell out of his favour. 

Henry was an extravagant spender, using the proceeds from the dissolution of the monasteries and acts of the Reformation Parliament. He also converted the money that was formerly paid to Rome into royal revenue. Despite the money from these sources, he was continually on the verge of financial ruin due to his personal extravagance, as well as his numerous costly and largely unsuccessful wars. At home, he oversaw the legal union of England and Wales, and he was the first English monarch to rule as King of Ireland. (Wikipedia article).

BNJ References.

Anglo-Irish Issues



    Dates   Gold    Silver 
1st Coinage ..... 1509-26  S.2264-66  S.2316-2336
2nd Coinage .... 1526-44  S.2267-88 S.2337-2363A
3rd Coinage ..... 1544-47     S.2289-2315     S.2364-2388A