[HENRY III (1207-1272), King of England]. Manuscript document with Royal seal, ROYAL LETTERS PATENT granting the Manor of Hales to the Abbey of Halesowen (founded 1214, dissolved 1538), Westminster, 5 April 1227. 1 page, approximately 355 x 285 mm. (14¼ x 12 in.), ON FINE PARCHMENT, written in Latin in a fine, upright chancery script with oblique ascenders, the first word ("HENRI"), in capitals, first line with decoratively flourished ascenders, one tiny hole (not affecting text), matted, with a special felt-lined sunken compartment for seal mount, in a large walnut frame.
A MONASTIC GRANT OF HENRY III, 1227, WITH SEAL AND SEAL BAG IN REMARKABLY FINE CONDITION.
SEAL: A VERY FINE IMPRESSION OF THE GREAT SEAL OF HENRY III (diameter, 104 mm (4 in.), obverse depicting the King enthroned, holding sword and scepter) in dark green wax, pendant on a plaited cord (linen?), THE SEAL STILL ENCLOSED IN ITS ORIGINAL MAGENTA DOESKIN PROTECTIVE BAG, carefully stitched along outer edges. Seal bags, intended to protect the fragile wax seal, were sewn from wool, linen, leather or parchment, but SEAL BAGS FROM THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY ARE SELDOM PRESERVED. P.D.A. Harvey and Andrew McGuinness, A Guide to British Medieval Seals, pp. 21, 37; Calendar of Charter Rolls, Henry III, 1226-57, p.32.
King Henry confirms the founding grant by King John of the Manor of Hales to the Premonstratensian Abbey of Halesowen; witnesses include Walter [de Gray], Archbishop of York (d.1255, Chancellor of England, supporter of King John at Runnymead), Walter [Mauclerk], Bishop of Carlisle (d.1248), Hugh de Burgh (d.1243, Justiciar of England, Conservator of the Magna Carta), Osbert Giffard, Ralph FitzNicholas and others. Henry III was the first English monarch to come to power as a child, inheriting the throne when he was only nine. As monarch, he alienated the nobility by alleged violations of the stipulations of the Magna Carta and perceived favoritism to the Papacy, often demonstrated by his gift of lands, as in the present document. Eventually, Henry was forced to sign the Provisions of Oxford, which accorded the barons a larger role in the conduct of the government.
Provenance: The Lyttleton Papers, property of The Viscount Cobham (sale, Sotheby's, 12 December 1978, lot 6, illustrated).