Collectanea satis copiosa

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The Collectanea satis copiosa (Latin: ‘The Sufficiently Abundant Collections’) of 1530 was a collection of historical documents compiled by Thomas Cranmer and Edward Foxe designed to prove that Kings of England, historically, had no superiors on Earth (including the Pope). The Collectanea contained evidence for Royal Supremacy from works by Bede, Matthew Paris, William of Malmesbury, Geoffrey of Monmouth and Anglo-Saxon laws.

The King, Henry VIII, had commissioned a royal committee of scholars to prove his claim that kings of England were not within the jurisdiction of the Pope. This would enable Henry to have his marriage to Catherine of Aragon annulled without first obtaining the Pope's permission.[1] Henry was delighted by the report and the surviving manuscript shows Henry's annotations to it.[2]

In the preamble to the Act in Restraint of Appeals, the claims of the Collectanea were forceably echoed:

Where by divers sundry old authentic histories and chronicles it is manifestly declared and expressed that this realm of England is an empire, and so hath been accepted in the world, governed by one supreme head and king having the dignity and royal estate of the imperial crown of the same, unto whom a body politic, compact of all sorts and degrees of people divided in terms and by names of spiritualty and temporalty, be bounded and owe to bear next to God a natural and humble obedience; he being also institute and furnished by the goodness and sufferance of Almighty God with plenary, whole and entire power, preeminence, authority, prerogative and jurisdiction to render and yield justice and final determination to all manner of folk resiants or subjects within this realm, in all causes, matters, debates and contentions happening to occur, insurge or begin within the limits thereof, without restraint or provocation to any foreign princes or potentates of the world.[3]


  1. ^ Diarmaid MacCulloch, Thomas Cranmer: A Life (Yale University Press, 1997), p. 54.
  2. ^ MacCulloch, p. 55.
  3. ^ G. R. Elton (ed.), The Tudor Constitution. Second Edition (Cambridge University Press, 1982), p. 353.

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