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The Tudor Society

John Leland

John Leland, the well-known Tudor poet and antiquary was born in London on 13th September, probably in 1503 although the actual year of his birth is unknown.

Leland is known for his Latin poems and his antiquarian writings which included Assertio inclytissimi Arturii regis Britanniae, which he presented to Henry VIII; his New Year's gift to Henry VIII, Antiquitates Britanniae; De uiris illustribus, a biographical encyclopedia of British writers; his travel notes, and his defence of the legends of King Arthur.

He died on 18th April 1552 in the parish of St Michael le Querne, Cheapside, London, and was buried there. It was recorded in 1547 that Leland "fell besides his wits" and in 1551, his brother was granted custody of him and his possessions.

His works can still be read today so I will share links for you to read them online. Be aware that some will be in the original Latin!

The Itinerary of John Leland the Antiquary, the notebooks of Leland's travels around England and Wales:

Edited by Lucy Toulmin Smith, 1906:

18th Century editions:

Leland's Commentarii de Scriptoribus Britannicis:

Leland's Latin poem on Thomas Wyatt, Naeniae in Mortem Thomae Viati, can be read at http://www.philological.bham.ac.uk/naeniae/.

Leland's Latin poem Pompa Nympharum can be read at http://www.philological.bham.ac.uk/officium/.

Leland's Two Poems on the French War can be read at http://www.philological.bham.ac.uk/warpoems/.

Leland's Latin poem about Henry Dudley can be read in Latin and English at http://www.philological.bham.ac.uk/lelandpoems/appendix2.html.

His poem Cygnea Cantio can be read at http://www.philological.bham.ac.uk/swansong/.

A collection of Leland's short poems, Epigrammata, can be read at http://www.philological.bham.ac.uk/lelandpoems/.

Two Latin masques by John Leland can be read at http://www.philological.bham.ac.uk/lelandpomps/.

Thank you to the John Leland Wikipedia page for some of the links to his works online.

Only 1 comment so far Go To Comment

  1. R /

    I love John Leyland. He was very interesting and he was a really curious man, making excellent descriptions and observations about all of the many places and people he met.

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John Leland