James P Carley

Department of English

Faculty, Retiree
Office: Founders College, 130
Phone: (416)736-2100 Ext: 33179

James P. Carley is a Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of English and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada as well as of the Society of Antiquaries of London. He is a specialist in the history and provenance of medieval English manuscripts; a bibliographer and a student of the early Tudor period.

He has written extensively on the history of Glastonbury Abbey, on the Tudor antiquary John Leland, on sixteenth-century book culture in general, on the foundation and early history of Lambeth Palace Library, as well as on the Arthurian legends, and the modern British novelist Lawrence Durrell.

Among Carley’s publications are The Chronicle of Glastonbury (1985), Glastonbury Abbey: History and Legends (1988; revised edn 1996). He is co-editor of The Archeology and History of Glastonbury Abbey (1991), Culture and the King: The Social Implications of the Arthurian Legend (1993), Books and Collectors 1200-1700 (1997), and 'Triumphs of English'. Henry Parker, Lord Morley, Translator to the Tudor Court (2000). Carley is one of the editors of Shorter Benedictine Catalogues, Corpus of British Medieval Library Catalogues (1996) and editor of The Libraries of King Henry VIII in the same series (2000).

He is the author of The Books of King Henry VIII and his Wives (2004) and has published more than 75 articles. His most recent books are: King Henry VIII's Prayer Book: Facsimile and Commentary (London, 2009) and John Leland. De uiris illustribus: An Edition and Translation (Toronto and Oxford, 2010). In 2012 he received a Queen Elizabether Diamond Jubilee medal and in 2013 he was awarded the Pierre Chauveau Medal from the Royal Society of Canada for "for his distinguished contribution to knowledge in the humanities other than Canadian literature and Canadian history”

Area of Specialization



Ph.D., Medieval Studies, University of Toronto
M.A., English, Dalhousie University
B.A., English, University of Victoria

Research Interests:

History , English , Provenance of medieval English manuscripts, Early Tudor period

All Publications


John Leland. De uiris illustribus / On Famous Men. Toronto & Oxford: 2010.

Commentary volume to King Henry VIII’s Prayer Book. London: The Folio Society, 2009.

Glastonbury Abbey and the Arthurian Tradition. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2001.

The Libraries of King Henry VIII. London: The British Library, 2000.

‘Triumphs of English’. Henry Parker, Lord Morley, Translator to the Tudor Court. London, The British Library, 2000 (With Marie Axton, University of Cambridge).

Books and Collectors 1200-1700. London: The British Library, 1997. (With Colin G. C. Tite, London).

English Benedictine Libraries: The Shorter Catalogues. London: British Library, 1996. (With R.Sharpe, University of Oxford, R. M. Thomson, University of Tasmania, A. G. Watson, University of London).

Culture and the King: The Social Implications of the Arthurian Legend. Albany: S.U.N.Y. Press, 1994. (With Martin. B. Shichtman, University of Eastern Michigan).

The Archaeology and History of Glastonbury Abbey. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 1991. (With Lesley Abrams, Cambridge University)

Glastonbury Abbey. The Holy House at the Head of the Moors Adventurous. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 1988; New York, St Martins Press, 1988. Revised and reprinted Glastonbury: Gothic Image, 1996.

John of Glastonbury's 'Cronica sive Antiquitates Glastoniensis Ecclesie'. British Archaeological Reports 47; Oxford, 1978.
Revised as The Chronicle of Glastonbury Abbey. An Edition, Translation, and Study of John of Glastonbury's 'Cronica sive Antiquitates Glastoniensis Ecclesie'. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 1985. (Trans. by David Townsend)

Book Chapters

‘“Accurately and Exquisitely Made”: George Abbot’s Preface to the 1612 Catalogue of Lambeth Palace Library’, in From the Reformation to the Permissive Society. A Miscellany in Celebration of the 400th Anniversary of Lambeth Palace Library, ed. Melanie Barber & Stephen Taylor with Gabriel Sewell (Woodbridge, 2010), pp. 43–62.

‘Henry VIII’s Library and the British Museum Duplicate Sales: A Newly Discovered De-accession’, in Libraries within the Library. The Origins of the British Library’s Printed Collections, ed. Giles Mandelbrote & Barry Taylor (London, 2009), pp. 11–23.

‘Henry VIII as Bibliophile: his Book Collections, their Storage and their Use’, & eighteen entries, in Henry VIII. Man and Monarch, ed. Susan Doran (London, 2009), pp. 273 – 77.

‘Glastonbury, the Grail-Bearer and the Sixteenth-Century Antiquariies’ in The Grail, the Quest and the World of Arthur, ed. Norris Lacy (Cambridge, 2008), pp. 156 – 72.

‘The Dispersal of the Monastic Libraries and the Salvaging of the Spoils’ in The Cambridge History of Libraries in Britain and Ireland, volume I: to 1640, ed. Elisabeth Leedham-Green and Teresa Webber (Cambridge, 2006), pp. 265—91.

‘Cum excuterem puluerem et blattas’: John Bale, John Leland and the Chronicon Tinemutensis coenobii’, in Text and Controversy from Wyclif to Bale, ed. Helen Barr & Ann M. Hutchison (Turnhout, 2005), pp. 163—87.

‘French Evangelical Books at the Court of Henry VIII’ in Le Livre évangelique en français avant Calvin, ed. Jean-François Gilmont & William Kemp (Turnhout, 2004), pp. 131—45.

‘John of Glastonbury and Borrowings from the Vernacular’, in Interstices. Studies in Middle English and Anglo-Latin Texts in Honour of A. G. Rigg, ed. Richard Firth Green & Linne R. Mooney (Toronto, 2004), pp. 55—73.

The Books of King Henry VIII and His Wives. London: The British Library, 2004.

‘Monastic Collections and their Dispersal’, in The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, IV: 1557-1695, ed. John Barnard and D. F. McKenzie (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 339-47.

'Henry VIII’s library and humanist donors: Gian Matteo Giberti as case study', in Reassessing Tudor Humanism, ed. Jonathan Woolfson.(New York, 2002), pp. 99—128.

'Misattributions and Ghost Entries in John Bale's Index Britanniae Scriptorum', in Anglo-Latin and Its Heritage, ed. S. Echard & G. R. Wieland (Turnhout, 2001), pp 229-42.

'"Plutrach's" Life of Agesilaus: A Recently Located New Year's Gift to Thomas Cromwell by Henry Parker, Lord Morley', in Prestige, Authority and Power in Late Medieval Manuscripts and Texts, ed. Felicity Riddy (Woodbridge, 2000), pp. 159-69

'The Foundations of the Royal Collection', in The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, III: 1400-1557, ed. Lotte Hellinga and J. B. Trapp (Cambridge, 1999), pp. 274-81.

‘Arthur in English History’, in The Arthur of the English, ed. W. R. J. Barron (Cardiff, 1999), pp. 47-57, 286-93.

‘“Her moost lovyng and fryndely brother sendeth gretyng”: Anne Boleyn’s Manuscripts and their Sources’, in Illuminating the Book. Makers and Interpreters, ed. M. P. Brown and S. McKendrick (London, 1998), pp. 261-80.

‘Presentation Manuscripts from the Collection of Henry VIII: the Case of Henry Parker, Lord Morley’, in Order and Connexion. Studies in Bibliography and Book History, ed. R. C. Alston (Cambridge, 1997), pp. 159-76.

‘Sir Thomas Bodley’s Library and its Acquisitions: an Edition of the Nottingham Benefaction of 1604’, in Books and Collectors 1200-1700, ed. Carley and Tite, 1997, pp. 357-86.

‘England’ in Medieval Arthurian Literature. A Guide to Recent Research, ed. Norris J. Lacy (London & New York, 1996), pp. 1-82.

'The Glastonbury Catalogues', in English Benedictine Libraries, ed Sharpe et al., pp. 157-245.

'A Grave Event: Henry V, Glastonbury Abbey and Joseph of Arimathea's Bones’, in Culture and the King, ed. Shichtman and Carley, 1994, pp. 129-148. Reprinted in Glastonbury Abbey and the Arthurian Tradition, pp. 285-302.

'An Early Irish Fragment of Isidore of Seville's Etymologiae', in The Archaeology and History of Glastonbury Abbey, ed. Abrams and Carley, 1991, pp. 135-61. (With Ann Dooley, University of Toronto)

'Greenwich and Henry VIII's Royal Library', in Henry VIII: A European Court in England, ed. David Starkey (London, 1991), pp. 155-59.

Journal Articles

‘Pre-Conquest Manuscripts from Malmesbury Abbey and John Leland’s Letter to Beatus Rhenanus Concerning a Lost Copy of Tertullian’s Works’, Anglo-Saxon England 33 (2004), 195-223. (With Pierre Petitmengin)

‘Malmesbury—Sélestat—Malines. Les tribulations d’un manuscrit de Tertullien au milieu du XVIe siècle’, Annuaire des amis de la Bibliothèque humaniste de Sélestat (2003), 63—74. (With Pierre Petitmengin)

‘”Plus que Assez”: Simon Bourgouyn and his French Translations from Plutarch, Petrarch and Lucian’, Viator 34 (2003), 328—63. (With Myra D. Orth)

‘Religious Controversy and Marginalia: Pierfrancesco di Piero Bardi, Thomas Wakefield and their Books, Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society 12.3 (2002), 206-245.

‘Thomas Wakefield, Robert Wakefield and the Cotton Genesis’, Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society 12.3 (2002), 246-261.

‘Relics at Glastonbury in the Fourteenth Century: An Annotated Edition of British Library, Cotton Titus D.vii, fols.2r-13v’, Arthurian Literature 16 (1998), 83-129. (With Martin Howley, Memorial University, Newfoundland) . Reprinted in Glastonbury Abbey and the Arthurian Tradition, pp. 569--616.

'Polydore Vergil and John Leland on King Arthur: the Battle of the Books', Arthurian Interpretations 15 (1984), 86-100. Revised and reprinted in King Arthur: A Casebook, ed. E. D. Kennedy. New York & London: Garland, 1996), 185-204.

‘More Pre-Conquest Manuscripts from Glastonbury Abbey’, Anglo-Saxon England 23 (1994), 265-81.

'A Fifteenth-Century Revision of the Glastonbury Epitaph to King Arthur', Arthurian Literature 12 (1993), 179-91. (With Michelle P. Brown, British Museum.) Reprinted in Glastonbury Abbey and the Arthurian Tradition, pp. 193--204.

'A Fragment of Perlesvaus at Wells Cathedral Library', Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie 108 (1992), 35-61. Reprinted in Glastonbury Abbey and the Arthurian Tradition, pp. 309--335

'The Royal Library as a Source for Sir Robert Cotton's Collection: a Preliminary List of Acquisitions', The British Library Journal 18 (1992), 52-73. Revised and reprinted in Sir Robert Cotton as Collector, ed. C. J. Wright (London, 1997), pp. 208-229.

'Sir Robert Cotton as Collector of Manuscripts and the Question of Dismemberment', The Library, 6th ser. 14.2 (1992), 94-99. (With C. G. C. Tite)

'A Glastonbury Translator at Work: Quedam Narracio de nobili rege Arthuro and De Origine Gigantum in their Earliest Manuscript Contexts', Nottingham French Studies 30 (1991), 5-12. Reprinted in Glastonbury Abbey and the Arthurian Tradition, pp. 337-45.

'"Heaven's Colour, the Blue": Morris's Guenevere and the Choosing Cloths Reread', The Journal of the William Morris Society 9.1 (1990), 20-22.

'Books Seen by Samuel Ward "In Bibliotheca Regia", circa 1614', The British Library Journal 16 (1990), 88-98.

'John Leland and the Contents of the English Pre-Dissolution Libraries: Lincolnshire', Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society 9.4 (1989), 330-57.

'Two Pre-Conquest Manuscripts from Glastonbury Abbey', Anglo-Saxon England 16 (1987), 197-212.

'John Leland in Paris: the Evidence of his Poetry', Studies in Philology 83 (1986), 1-50.

'John Leland and the Contents of English Pre-Dissolution Libraries: Glastonbury Abbey', Scriptorium 40 (1986), 107-20.

'John Leland and the Contents of English Pre-Dissolution Libraries: the Cambridge Friars', Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society 9 (1986), 90-100.

'John Leland at Somerset Libraries', Somerset Archaeology and Natural History 129 (1985), 141-54.

'John Leland's "Cygnea Cantio": a Neglected Tudor River Poem', Humanistica Lovaniensia 32 (1983), 225-41.

'Lawrence Durrell's Avignon Quincunx and Gnostic Heresy', The Malahat Review 61 (1982), 156-67. Re-issued in revised form in Critical Essays on Lawrence Durrell, ed. A. Friedman (Boston, 1987), pp. 229-245.

'Melkin the Bard and Esoteric Tradition at Glastonbury Abbey', The Downside Review 99 (1981), 1-17.

'An Edition of the List of Ninety-Nine Books Acquired at Glastonbury Abbey During the Abbacy of Walter de Monington', Mediaeval Studies 43 (1981), 498-514. (With J. F. R. Coughlan)

'An Interview with Lawrence Durrell on the Background to Monsieur and its Sequels', The Malahat Review 51 (1979), 42-46.

'Lawrence Durrell and the Gnostics', Deus Loci: The Lawrence Durrell Newsletter 2 (1978), 3-10.

'An Identification of John of Glastonbury and a New Dating of his Chronicle', Mediaeval Studies 40 (1978), 478-83.

'An Annotated Edition of the List of Sixty-Three Monks Who Entered Glastonbury Abbey during the Abbacy of Walter de Monington', The Downside Review 95 (1977), 306-15.

Conference Papers

‘The 1556 Edition of “The Folowinge of Chryste”: Background and Context’. Mapping Late Medieval Lives of Christ. Queen’s University Belfast, 10–13 June, 2010.

‘John Leland’. Holinshed Workshop. Jesus College, Oxford. 7 January, 2009.

‘Bancroft’. Arcbhishops and their Books. Lambeth Palace, 5 October, 2007

William Peto, O.F.M.Obs., and the 1556 Edition of “The folowinge of Chryste”'. Harlaxton Medieval Symposium: the Friars in Medieval Britain. 26 July, 2007.

‘”Witnesses of Sure Credit”: Why Arthur Mattered to the English Humanist Historians’. 49th International Congress on Medieval Studies. Kalamazoo Michigan. 11 May, 2007.

‘Thomas Wolsey’s Epistolary and Gospel Lectionary: Production and Later History’. Agents of Manuscript Culture. An Interdisciplinary Workshop. University of Toronto. 7 May, 2007.

‘Glastonbury, the Grail and the English Antiquaries’. The Grail, the Quest and the World of Arthur. Penn State University. 30 March, 2007.

"Except truethe be delicately clothed in purpure": John Leland on medieval English writers. Sixteenth Century Society and Conference, Salt Lake City, 27 October, 2006

‘”Out of deadly darkeness to lyvelye lyght”: the Dissolution of the English Monasteries and the Formation of a National Library’. Keynote address to ‘Navigating Texts and Contexts’: 13th International Conference of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing at Halifax, N.S., 15 July, 2005

‘”Receyved at Wyndsore”: Henry VIII’s local library revisited’. Association for Commonwealth Studies Conference at Cumberland Lodge, Windsor Great Park, 17 May, 2005.

‘"Imitating the Nature of the Elephant": John's Leland's Unprinted Commentaries on Polydore Vergil'. Renaissance Society of America Conference at Cambridge, 9 April 2005.

‘John Bale’s Epitome of John Leland’s de uiris illustribus’. Plenary session at international conference on John Foxe and the Catholic Tradition, Magdalene College, Cambridge, 6 July 2004.

‘From nunc to nuper: the Sequence of John Leland’s Visitations to Monastic Houses’. Tudor Views of Landscape. Society for Landscape Sudies and Council for British Archaeology Wessex Autumn Conference. Salisbury, 18 October 2003. [invited]

‘The Ex-Religious and their Books’. Chichester Centre for Ecclesiastical Studies Autumn Conference 2002, 5 October 2002. [invited]

'Simon Bourgouyn and Humanist Translations at the Courts of Louis XII and Francis I'. The Sixth Cardiff Conference on the Theory and Practice of Translation in the Middle Ages. Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 19 July 2001. [refereed]

'John of Glastonbury and Vernacular Borrowings'. West Country Gothic: Art, Architecture and Society in Wales and the West of England 1140--1540. A Symposium Held at Gonville & Caius College Cambridge, 9 December 2000. [invited]

‘More Deeply Learned than Her Husband: Catherine of Aragon and her Books’. Symposium in Honour of Felicity Riddy, York, England, July 1, 2000. [invited]

‘The Development of Henry VIII’s Library: Humanist Books’. Reassessing Tudor Humanism. A Symposium Held at the Warburg Institute, London, November 26, 1999. [invited]

‘Libr[i] de historiis antiquitatum ac diuinitate tractancium in librariis et domibus religiosis’: the monastic component of Henry VIII’s royal collection’. The Religious Orders in the Pre-Reformation English Church: a Colloquium. The Borthwick Institute, University of York, September 12, 1999. [invited]

‘French Evangelical Books at the Court of Henry VIII’. Evangelical Imprints in French prior to Calvin. Canadian Society for Renaissance Studies, University of Sherbrooke, June 5, 1999. [invited]

‘The Libraries of Henry VIII: Editing Inventories, Tracing Books, and Reconstructing Lost Lists’. Toronto Edits: Annual Conference on Editorial Problems, University of Toronto, November 7, 1998. [invited]

‘The Books of Henry VIII’. Henry VIII’s Inventories: The Apparatus of Monarchy. A Conference organized by The Society for Court Studies and the University of Bristol, Bristol, September 19, 1997. [invited]

‘Presentation Copies to Henry VIII: the Case of Giovan Matteo Giberti (1495-1542)’, Plenary Session, Early Book Society Conference, Lampeter Wales, July 10, 1997. [refereed]

‘Inventory Numbers in Henry VIII’s Books: the Foundation of the “Modern” Royal Library’. Marks In Books: A Conference held at the Beinecke Library at Yale University, January 27, 1997. [invited]

‘The Manuscript Remains of Henry Parker, Lord Morley’. Morley Symposium, Christ’s College, Cambridge, December 10, 1996. [organizer]

‘“Brotherly Greetings”: Deluxe Manuscripts Produced for Anne Boleyn from Evangelical Printed Texts’. May 10, 1996, at the 31st International Congress on Medieval Studies, The Medieval Institute, Kalamazoo. [invited]

‘The Book Dissected: History Revised’. The Sixteenth Century Studies Conference. Toronto. 27 October, 1994. [refereed]

'A 1542 inventory of the Upper Library at Westminster'. Munby Seminar, Cambridge University. 11 July, 1994. [invited]

'Presentation copies at the Court of Henry VIII: the Case of Henry Parker, Lord Morley'. Seventh York Manuscripts Conference: Prestige, Authority and Power, July 2, 1994. [invited]

'Brutland before Brutus, or Albina's Albion'. The Legend of Troy in the Middle Ages. Second Annual Conference, Institute of Medieval Studies, University of Nottingham. May 14, 1994. [refereed]

'John Leland and His Manuscripts: Religious Polemicist or Antiquarian'. May 7, 1994, at the 29th International Congress on Medieval Studies, The Medieval Institute, Kalamazoo. [invited]

'Textual Origins: the Whys and Wherefores of the Latin Translation of Des Grantz Geanz.' Fourth Cardiff Conference on the Theory and Practice of Translation in the Middle Ages, July 29, 1993. Conques en Aveyron, France. [refereed]

Respondent to papers on 'Insular, Anglo-Saxon, and Early Anglo-Norman Manuscript Art at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.' May 8, 1993 at the 28th International Congress on Medieval Studies, The Medieval Institute, Kalamazoo. [invited]

'The Corpus of Medieval Library Catalogues Project: a Response'. Given at The Corpus of British Medieval Library Catalogues Seminar, Warburg Institute, London, Sept. 27-29, 1991. [invited]

'Membra disiecta: the Comparative Use of Inventory Entries, Contents Pages, and Physical Layout in the Reintegration of Separated Booklets'. Given at "Ideas of Order in Key Texts 1300-1550": Second Early Book Society Conference, Trinity College, Dublin, July 11-14, 1991. [refereed]

'The Emergence of the Royal Collection'. Given at the History of the Book in Britain, 1450-1557 Seminar, Warburg Institute, London, Feb. 22-23, 1991. [invited]

'Perlesvaus, John of Glastonbury and "King Arthur's Chapel Ride": New Manuscript Evidence.' Given at the 16th International Arthurian Congress, University of Durham, August 11-18, 1990. [refereed]

'Manuscripts and Printed Books Associated with the Libraries of Henry VIII'. Given at the First Early Book Society Conference, University of Durham, July 25-28, 1989. [refereed]

'John of Glastonbury's Latin Adaptation of the "Perilous Chapel" Episode in Perlesvaus and its Possible Sources'. Given at the Fifteenth International Arthurian Congress, University of Leuven, July 22-29, 1987. [refereed]

'John Cowper Powys' Glastonbury'. Given at the Powys Society Third Annual Conference, SUNY at Fort Schyler, June, 1987. [invited]

'John Leland's Encomiastic Verse'. Given at the Third International Society for Neo-Latin Studies Conference, Wolfenbuttel, Germany, August, 1985. [refereed]

'John Leland and his Patrons'. Given at the Canadian Society of Renaissance Studies Conference, U.B.C., May 1983. [refereed]

'John Leland: an Analysis of his Manuscripts'. Given at the Ninth Annual Manuscript Conference at St. Louis University, October 1982. [refereed]

'John Leland's Cygnea cantio'. Given at the Second International Society for Neo-Latin Studies. University of St. Andrews, Scotland, August 1982. [refereed]

'The Manuscripts of John Leland'. Given at the Society for Textual Scholarship Conference, City University of New York, May 1981. [refereed]

'Trinity College, Cambridge, MS R. 5. 16: the Key to a New Dating of John of Glastonbury's Chronicle'. Given at the Fourth Annual Manuscript Conference at St. Louis University, October 1977. [refereed]

Book Reviews

Roger Chartier. Publishing Drama in Early Modern Europe. Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada 39/1 (2001), 101-03

William Noel. The Harley Psalter. Rare Books Newsletter 55 (1997), 65-66.

Philip Rahtz. English Heritage Book of Glastonbury. The Antiquaries Journal 75 (1995), 70-71.

Printing the Written Word: The Social History of Books, circa 1450-1520, ed. Sandra Hindman. Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada 3l.1 (1993), 94-98.

Stan A. E. Mendyk, 'Speculum Britanniae': Regional Study, Antiquarianism, and Science in Britain to 1700. Renaissance and Reformation N.S. 15 (1991), 334-6.

Michelle P. Brown, A Guide to Western Historical Scripts from Antiquity to 1600. Epilogue/Epilogue 12 (1991), 49-51.

Arthurian Literature VIII & IX, ed. Richard Barber. Quondam et Futurus: A Journal of Arthurian Interpretations 1.2 (1991), 78-80.

M. R. Richards, Texts and Their Traditions in the Medieval Library of Rochester Cathedral Priory. Speculum 66 (1991), 683-4.

Letters of Henry Wanley, Palaeographer, Anglo-Saxonist, Librarian, 1672-1726, ed. P. L. Heyworth. The University of Toronto Quarterly 60 (1990), 118-20.

'Arthur the Greatest King': An Anthology of Modern Arthurian Poems, ed. Alan Lupack. Quondam et Futurus 10 (1989/90), 22-23.

L. Butler & C. Given-Wilson, Medieval Monasteries of Great Britain. Mystics Quarterly 15 (1989), 151-52.

Christopher Dean, Arthur of England. English Studies in Canada 14 (1988), 347-50.

The Chronicle of Salimbene de Adam, ed. Joseph L. Baird et al. Manuscripta 31 (1987), 45.

William Camden, Remains Concerning Britain, ed. R. D. Dunn. Renaissance and Reformation, NS 9 (1985), 308-09.

The Early History of Glastonbury: An Edition, Translation and Study of William of Malmesbury's 'De Antiquitate Glastonie Ecclesie', ed. John Scott. Speculum 58 (1983), 819-20.