Spoilers are precisely defined here. Rules vary by the story's medium. Info from television stories can't be added here until after the top or bottom of the hour, British time, closest to the end credits roll on BBC One. Therefore, fans in the Americas who are sensitive to spoilers should avoid Tardis on Sundays until they've seen the episode.



The Library of St John the Beheaded was a secret library of forbidden texts, owned by the Catholic Church and located in London. The Doctor had been a patron of the library since his first incarnation, when he had visited there with Susan. (PROSE: All-Consuming Fire)

It was part of the Vatican's accumulation of items they deemed unwise for the general public to know about, along with the Collection of Necessary Secrets and the Crow Gallery. (PROSE: Christmas on a Rational Planet) Another account indicated that, at least in the Shadow World, the Vatican used the Haereticum to store forbidden texts. (TV: Extremis)


The library was hidden in St Giles Rookery area of Holborn, London so that the Vatican could deny its existence. The books in the library had been hidden by the church for the protection of the public; a small number of patrons were allowed access to the library, but with very few exceptions the books had to stay on the premises. Anyone caught attempting to remove a book had their hands cut off.

The library's catalogue included dangerous occult literature, evidence of alien activity and lost works by such great writers as Plato, Aristophanes and Shakespeare. (PROSE: All-Consuming Fire) Cousin Eliza of Faction Paradox once deemed that the Vatican's occult library was the most significant collection of such texts on Earth. (AUDIO: The Ship of a Billion Years)

Specific works included the journal of Redvers Fenn-Cooper, De Vermis Mysteriis, (PROSE: All-Consuming Fire) The Gnostic Apocrypha of Nostradamus, Liber Inducens in Evangelium Aeternum, the Eltdown Shards, the Pnakotic Manuscripts, the Book of Eibon, The Many Eyes, Lies and Lives of Yog-Sothoth, (PROSE: Millennial Rites) Love's Labour's Won, The Birth of Merlin, Sir John Oldcastle, (PROSE: The Empire of Glass) and the Book of Zagreus. (AUDIO: Neverland)


The Library of St John the Beheaded was believed to be founded around the 9th century (PROSE: All-Consuming Fire) as the "Black Library" of the Knights of St John the Beheaded. (AUDIO: Neverland) Irving Braxiatel was involved in its establishment. (PROSE: The Empire of Glass) He was also the custodian. (PROSE: Theatre of War, Dragons' Wrath, et al.)

The unprecedented theft of a book from the library in 1887 led the church to enlist the aid of Sherlock Holmes, who soon discovered that book was last read by the Seventh Doctor. (PROSE: All-Consuming Fire)

Sometime in the 20th century, Levith borrowed the Book of Zagreus from the library to aid in the Celestial Intervention Agency's investigation of Zagreus. (AUDIO: Neverland)

In the late 20th century, Professor Travers was granted access to the library when researching possible previous invasion attempts by the Great Intelligence. Both the Professor's daughter Anne and Ashley Chapel used books from the library in 1999 to learn quantum mnemonics, the language of the Old Ones. The Doctor, in an incarnation prior to the Sixth Doctor, also visited the library while investigating these events. By this time, Chapel had purchased the Library from the Vatican but it was still run on the inside by Catholic priests, with Jeraboam Atoz as the Head Librarian. (PROSE: Millennial Rites) Melanie Bush was later reminded of the Library by the Master's TARDIS library. (PROSE: The Quantum Archangel)

The journal of the scientist Grisenko, (PROSE: The Secret Lives of Monsters) who had encountered the Doctor and an Ice Warrior, (TV: Cold War) ended up in the property of the Library of St John the Behaded. (PROSE: The Secret Lives of Monsters)

The Doctor once successfully borrowed several books from the Library and brought them to TARDIS' library. When he found them in his fifth incarnation, he realised he still had to return them. (AUDIO: No Place Like Home)

While Irving Braxiatel left his position circa the 17th century, he planned to someday return to the Library at a point in Earth's future and "see what had become of the Braxiatel Collection". (PROSE: The Empire of Glass) Braxiatel kept a plaque on his office desk at St Oscar's University saying he was Custodian of the Library of St John the Beheaded. (PROSE: Dragons' Wrath, The Medusa Effect) He later kept this same plaque on his desk at the Braxiatel Collection on KS-159. (PROSE: Theatre of War, Tears of the Oracle, The Doomsday Manuscript, The Two-Level Effect)