King Henry VIII letter found at Dunham Massey

Katie with letter The letters were found by steward Katie Taylor

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A letter written by King Henry VIII and a document announcing the birth of his only male heir have gone on display in Greater Manchester.

The papers, which date back to the mid-1500s, were discovered at the Dunham Massey estate near Altrincham.

They were found by a steward in a folio of letters kept in one of Dunham's picture stores.

An expert from the John Rylands Library confirmed the authenticity of both documents.

Both are addressed to George Booth Esq, the grandfather of Sir George Booth who built the first house at the National Trust site in 1600.

'Signatures jumped out'

The letter from King Henry is dated 1543 and is a call to arms to landlords to recruit troops from their tenants to go into battle against the Scots.

Jane Seymour's document announces the birth of a son, the future King Edward VI, in 1537.

Queen Jane, Henry's third wife, died of complications from childbirth less than two weeks after Edward was born.

Katie Taylor, who made the discovery, said: "I was going through the letters in the folio, and these two signatures jumped out at me.

"I was almost sure that one was signed by King Henry VIII, and the other written on behalf of Queen Jane Seymour.

"Each of the letters is written on very thick and robust paper, and both have been kept flat and stored carefully away.

"These documents are older than any of our buildings at Dunham and almost the oldest things in our collection."

The letters are part of an exhibition to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year.

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