Monty Python star, Terry Jones, awarded Honorary Degree

Published: 21 June 2013

Author, actor and film director Terry Jones has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Glasgow, at a ceremony on Friday 21 June

Terry JonesAuthor, actor and film director Terry Jones has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Glasgow, at a ceremony on Friday 21 June.

In evening Terry also presented a lecture at the University of Glasgow entitled ‘Chaucer in the 21st Century’.

The former ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ star received a Doctorate of Letters (DLitt) for his contribution towards film and television and for his academic research around medieval history and literature.

Terry’s lecture presents his own research findings which address the images of the Canterbury pilgrims that appear in the Ellesmere manuscript of Chaucer's ‘Canterbury Tales’. Focusing in particular on the knight, the monk and the friar, Terry will argue that these images were deliberately censored and will speculate on some of the motives and consequences for this.

Terry Jones said: “I am proud to be awarded the title of Doctor of Letters from the University of Glasgow and would like to offer my thanks for the consideration.”

Professor Graham Caie, Vice-President, Royal Society of Edinburgh, Professorial Research Fellow, University of Glasgow, said: “The University of Glasgow is pleased to be able to award Terry Jones with an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters.

Terry has achieved in so many fields what more than a dozen might reasonably expect to do in a lifetime: he is an academic, screenwriter, actor, film director, author, political commentator and comedian. He possesses the gift of making scholarship exciting and, with great enthusiasm, he opens medieval studies to a broad audience through his books, TV programmes and films. Above all, he's taught us all to 'only look on the bright side of life!'”

As a film director Terry co-directed (with Terry Gilliam) ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’, and directed himself co-wrote and starred in ‘The Life of Brian’, ‘The Meaning of Life’, ‘Erik the Viking’ and ‘The Wind in the Willows’. He directed ‘Personal Services’ and he also wrote the screenplay for Jim Henson’s ‘Labyrinth’. 

Television credits include: ‘Crusades’, ‘Gladiators: the Brutal Truth’, ‘Ancient Inventions’, ‘Hidden Histories’, ‘Medieval Lives’, ‘The Story of One’ (2005), ‘Barbarians’, ‘The Great Map Mystery’ (BBC 2007).

He is author of: ‘Fairy Tales’, ‘Fantastic Stories’, ‘The Saga of Erik the Viking’, ‘Nicobobinus’, ‘The Curse of the Vampire’s Socks’, ‘The Knight and the Squire’, ‘The Lady and the Squire’, ‘The Tyrant & The Squire’.

His academic works include: ‘Chaucer’s Knight’ (1980), ‘Who Murdered Chaucer?’ (2003). ‘The Image of Chaucer’s Knight in Speaking Images: Essays in Honor of V.A.Kolve’ (Pegasus Press, Asheville, North Carolina, (2001), ‘Was Richard II A Tyrant?’ in ‘Fourteenth Century England V’, ed. Nigel Saul (Boydell Press, 2008).

The full list of Honorary Degrees presented in 2013 are listed below.

On the 12 June Honorayr Degrees were awarded as follows:


The Rt Hon Lord HOPE

Supreme Court Judge

The Rt Hon Lord REED

Supreme Court Judge

Sheriff Principal James TAYLOR

Sheriff, Glasgow Court



Award Winning Dramatist

Professor Heather MUNROE-BLUM

Principal and Vice-Chancellor, McGill University


Professor Asma ISMAIL

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Institute for Research in Molecular Medicine, University Sains Malaysia

Professor Srinath REDDY

President of the Public Health Foundation, India

Professor Sir Mark WALPORT

Chief Scientific Adviser to HM Government and Head of the Government Office for Science.


The following Honorary Degrees awarded at other ceremonies throughout June:


Katherine GRAINGER – 20 June 4pm


The Rt Hon Lady PATON – 20 June 4pm

Judge, Court of Session


Christopher BROOKMYRE – 27 June 4pm


Muriel GRAY – GSA 14 June

Broadcaster, Author and Businesswoman

Terry JONES – 21 June 11am

Writer, Film Director and Actor

Professor Christain KAY – 27 June 11am

Emeritus Professor of English Language, University of Glasgow

Aonghas MACNEACAIL – 28 June 11am

Gaelic Poet

Professor Jean-Luc MARION – 27 June 11am

Professor of the Philosophy of Religions and Theology, University of Chicago

Jonathan SAUNDERS – GSA 14 June

Fashion Designer


Professor Barry BARISH – 25 June 4pm

Linde Professor of Physics, California Institute of Technology

Professor Roger CROFTS - Dumfries 2 Jul

Chairman, IUCN World Conservation Union UK Committee


John ROSS – 24 June 11am

Chairman, Moredun Foundation


For more information please contact Nick Wade ini the University of Glasgow's Media Relations Office on 01413307126 or on

First published: 21 June 2013

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