©National Archives

Valor Ecclesiasticus, 1536 Henry VIII's 'Domesday Book' for the Church.

The Valor Ecclesiasticus (Latin for Church Valuation) was a detailed survey and valuation of church property in England and Wales. It told Henry how much church wealth lay at his disposal after he effectively appointed himself Head of the English Church. The Dissolution of the Monasteries began in 1536 and led to the suppression of more than 800 monasteries.

The image depicted in the title page of the Valor Ecclesiasticus is an apt reflection of the King's power. Henry dominates the picture, sitting with arms akimbo and legs astride, whilst his courtiers cower in the background.

The Valor Ecclesiasticus remained the basis of assessment of payments from benefices until they were finally abolished in 1926.

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