School of History academic unearths book used by Henry VIII

Professor James Carley has discovered a historical book, once owned by Henry VIII

Professor James Carley discovered the historical book, once owned by Henry VIII

A School of History academic has unearthed a book used by Henry VIII, which helped change the course of English history.

Professor James Carley identified the text, featuring legal and philosophical advice by theologian William of Ockham, as the same one Henry VIII and his legal team used when gathering evidence to secure an annulment from Catherine of Aragon in the 1530s, a move which ultimately enabled England to break ties with Rome.

With the help of David Shaw, Professor Carley identified the copy, currently residing in the library of Cornish National Trust property Lanhydrock, through a 1542 inventory of Henry’s books, showing it had once been part of the king’s library at his palace at Westminster.

Professor Carley is sure the book was consulted by the Tudor monarch whilst gathering evidence to undermine the authority of the Pope and support an annulment, which would leave him free to marry Anne Boleyn. The text contains marks and notes made by the King’s advisors highlighting sections which support his desire for change.

Carley said the discovery was “thrilling”, adding:

“The book is important not only for its provenance but for the notes entered in it by Henry VIII’s advisers and no doubt intended for him to see. They draw attention to precisely the sort of issues that were so relevant to the king’s policies in the years leading up to the break with Rome.”

Funding for the project was provided by the University of Kent. The book will now be displayed in an exhibition, Monarchy and the Book, running at the Victorian country house from next month.

Dr. Nasim to appear on BBC Radio 3

Dr. Omar Nasim

Dr. Omar Nasim

Dr. Omar Nasim will have an essay of his read out on BBC Radio 3 as part of an upcoming series, ‘The Essay: The Five Photographs That (You Didn’t Know) Changed Everything‘. Dr. Nasim’s essay focusing on the photograph ‘The Nebula in Orion’ by Henry Draper will be aired on Tuesday 17th February at 10.45pm.

Dr. Nasim will examine how a photo of space changed our view of the universe and our place within it, telling the story of how Draper’s 1880 photograph, the very first pictures of nebula, defied the imagination and raised questions not just about the size of the universe but about the very origins of humanity.

More information about the programme can be found here.

Henry Draper's photograph which is the focus of Dr. Nasim's essay

Henry Draper’s photograph which is the focus of Dr. Nasim’s essay


Friends of the School of History: Day Trip to Ypres

There are still places left on our first dedicated Friends of the School of History members trip to Ypres on Tuesday 12 March 2015.

The day trip will include a tour of the battlefields of WW1, given by Professor Mark Connelly, and the opportunity to attend the Last Post ceremony.

Tickets cost £35 each, and will be allocated on a first come first served basis as spaces are limited. For more information, and to book your place, or if you are not yet a Friend of the School, but would still like to attend, please contact Sam Crooks on

Members of the group, which was launched at the School’s Alumni Reunion Day in October, are invited to attend Open Lectures on a variety of historical topics from both our academics and visiting speakers, keep up to date with the latest news and events from the School with our alumni newsletter, as well as enjoy social events, and receive invitations to our dedicated Friends trips to places of historical interest.

To find out more about the group, and to sign up to become a Friend, please see here.