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Department of Theology and Religion


Dr James Kelly

Research Fellow in Early Modern British and Irish Catholicism in the Department of Theology and Religion
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43950
Room number: No. 5 The College D002

Contact Dr James Kelly (email at

I am St Cuthbert's Society Research Fellow in Early Modern British and Irish Catholicism and have been a member of Durham University's Department of Theology and Religion and its Centre for Catholic Studies since 2012. I am also Principal Investigator of the AHRC-funded 'Monks in Motion' project, which is investigating the experience of the English and Welsh Benedictines in exile, c.1553-1800.

After completing my PhD at King's College, London, I was a member of the AHRC-funded ‘Who Were the Nuns?’ project and Project Manager of its AHRC-funded follow-on initiative, both at Queen Mary, University of London.

My interests are in post-Reformation Catholic history in Europe, with a particular focus on Britain and Ireland. The experience of the British and Irish Catholic communities at home and in exile is the main focus of my research.

I lead the History of Catholicism research strand within the University's Centre for Catholic Studies. I am also an associate and member of the steering committee of the Queen Mary Centre for Religion and Literature in English, as well as serving as secretary of the Catholic Record Society.


Authored book

Chapter in book

  • Kelly, James E. (2016). Creating an English Catholic Identity: Relics, Martyrs and English Women Religious in Counter-Reformation Europe. In Early Modern English Catholicism: Identity, Memory and Counter-Reformation, c. 1570–1800. Kelly, James E. & Royal, Susan Brill. 41-59.
  • Kelly, James E. (2015). Bringing it all back home: Mary Butler (1641-1723) - Benedictine Abbess of Ypres. In Treasures of Irish Christianity volume 3: To the Ends of the Earth. Ryan, Salvador Veritas. 64-66.
  • Kelly, James E. (2014). Conformity, Loyalty and the Jesuit Mission to England of 1580. In Religious Tolerance in the Atlantic World: Early Modern and Contemporary Perspectives. Glaser, Eliane Palgrave Macmillan. 149-170.
  • Kelly, James E. (2013). Essex Girls Abroad: Family Patronage and the Politicization of Convent Recruitment in the Seveneteenth Century. In The English Convents in Exile, 1600-1800: Communities, Culture and Identity. Bowden, Caroline & Kelly, James E. 33-52.

Edited book

Journal Article

Edited Journal

Other (Print)

Selected Grants

  • 2015: Monks in Motion: A prosopographical study of the English and Welsh Benedictines in exile, 1553-1800 (£185190.20 from AHRC)