Born at Worcester, August 1, 1555. Started life as an apothecary, but later attended Oxford University under the name of Talbot. Studied law and for a time practiced as a notary.
According to tradition, while in the vicinity of Glastonbury Abbey (which by the way, has played such a notable part in so many incidents in Rosicrucian history) he became possessed of a manuscript by St. Dunstan, which inspired him to take up the study of Alchemy.
It is known to a reasonable degree of certainty that he did know both the red and white transmuting tinctures. Kelley had well developed psychical powers, and in 1583 was knighted by the Emperor Rudolph II at Prague, although in 1589 the same Emperor imprisoned him to extort the transmutative secrets from him, in which he was unsuccessful. He was released in 1593, and died in 1595 as the result of an accident incurred while attempting to escape.