Durham Academic Finds Invaluable Historical Document
Dr. Catherine Fletcher Unearths Divorce Documents of Henry VIII; Optimism Ensues
Imagine writing a thesis on the possibility on finding Wally. Then imagine Wally actually falling on you.
Preposterous metaphor though this is, something similar has appeared to Durham academic Dr. Catherine Fletcher as her research gave her far more valuable information than she could have possibly expected.
Dr. Fletcher, now a lecturer in the history department, was conducting research for her thesis in the Italian town of Piacenza.
She was researching King Henry VIII’s ambassador to the Vatican, a wily old character by the name of Gregorio Casali, who acted as a go-between in the time of Henry’s ‘Great Matter’, when he wanted to divorce Catherine of Aragon to marry Anne Boleyn, even though it was against Catholic tenets.
Her research took her to Piacenza’s record office, where she mentioned to the woman in charge that she was researching Casali.
What happened next is best be described by Dr. Fletcher herself;
‘She pointed me in the direction of a man sitting in the reading room who knew all about them. They have a castle in the town….He then got in touch with the man in charge of the records office who is a friend of the Casali family who rang them and arranged an invitation for me to go to see them.’
Upon being invited to look through some of the cupboards of the Casali castle, Dr. Fletcher was astounded to find documents dating back more than 400 years, detailing invaluable political intrigue and shedding new light on the political landscape of the time.
Revelations from the documents include that Pope Clement VIII’s objections to Henry’s proposed divorce were not so much based on religious conviction (as was originally thought), but more on personal loyalties- spurning Mr, Casali’s overtures from London because of his familial relations to Catherine.
Such revelations have had a huge impact on study of the era, further enhancing Durham’s already formidable academic reputation and putting Dr. Fletcher’s name up in lights in ways she cannot have possibly expected when she first boarded her flight to Italy.
Her story, now reaching the heady heights of gracing the pages of this magnificent publication, will come as a tonic to today’s depressing times; whilst the world’s economy may be in the toilet and bad things still happen to good people, it’s nice to see that with a lot of work and a little luck, good things can, and will come. After all, it’s amazing what can turn up in a cupboard.
More details of Dr. Fletcher’s findings can be found in her book, Our Man in Rome