Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding.

I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop...
It was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Funeral of the Queen of Romania

The BBC News webite has an account of Royal funeral for Romania's uncrowned Queen Anne
and the Royal Forums website has a post Mourners At the Royal Palace in Bucharest
with other related links from it to other posts.

From the blog New My Royals there are these pictures of the Queen's lying-in-state:

Romanians pay last respect to late Queen Anne of Romania

Hundreds of mourners have paid respect to the late Queen Anne of Romania, lying in state at the Royal Palace now the Art Museum of Romania, in Bucharest August 11, 2016. The body of Anne of Romania, the wife of the Romania's former King, Michael of Romania, arrived in Bucharest Tuesday for the royal funeral. Queen Anne, aged 92, died on August 1 in a hospital in Switzerland. Born Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma, she met Michael in 1947 and married him in 1948.
Hundreds of mourners have paid respect to the late Queen Anne of Romania, lying in state at the Royal Palace now the Art Museum of Romania, in Bucharest
Hundreds of mourners have paid respect to the late Queen Anne of Romania, lying in state at the Royal Palace now the Art Museum of Romania, in Bucharest

Hundreds of mourners have paid respect to the late Queen Anne of Romania, lying in state at the Royal Palace now the Art Museum of Romania, in Bucharest
Hundreds of mourners have paid respect to the late Queen Anne of Romania, lying in state at the Royal Palace now the Art Museum of Romania, in Bucharest
Hundreds of mourners have paid respect to the late Queen Anne of Romania, lying in state at the Royal Palace now the Art Museum of Romania, in Bucharest

  Images: newmyroyals.com

The Royal Standard of Queen Anne of Romania

Image: Wikipedia

Scandinavian Monarchies in WWII

Recently the Mad Monarchist posted an interesting piece about World War II and the Scandinavian Monarchies which draws several themes together. 

I am not quite sure if I agree with the Mad Monarchist in his tendency to see decline in the story he unfolds. Thus in Sweden the constitutional changes ( whether you agree with them or not ) consolidated into law in 1974 were ones which had developed over the preceding three-quart-rs of a century and Swedish commentastors conside rthe monarchy there more popular than in the past. I recall both before and when the present King came to the throne in 1973 journalist were inclined to write off the Swedish monarchy as finished in an age of social democracy. In reality a young King and Queen and their family held the attentuion and loyalty of the majority,and if you follow theses things at all it is clear the Swedish monarchy is no stanger to public splendour and ceremonial  - barely a bicycle in sight. It was back in 1907 that, very regretably, and on the grounds of cost, that the Swedish royal house, abandoned the coronation ritual; such a change is not recent.

Similarly in Norway the coronation ceremony has not been obligatory soon after 1906. I greatly regret that, but the more muted inaguration of King Olav V in 1957 was followed by a more elaborate ceremony in 1991 for King Harald V according to Norwegian friends.

Denmark gave up the coronation in 1863, but the monarchy retains apublic ceremonial face which is impressive.

In both Denmark and Sweden the condtitutional clashes over the King's powers were made manifest in the First World War or its aftermath, not the Second.

The article is also interesting in bringing out the differences between the the kingdoms, perhaps exacerbated for the Danes and Norwegians by Swedish neutality in the years cafter 1940.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Bl. John Sandys - an Oriel martyr

Today is the 420th anniversary of the martyrdom of the priest Bl. John Sandys at Gloucester in 1586. An Oriel man born 1550/55 in Cheshire or Lancashire he converted to Catholicism and then trained at Reims for the priesthood.

His ability to celebrate Mass the morning of his execution is an interesting insight into what could happen in an Elizabethan prison, whilst the actual carrying out of his death sentence shocked some at least who did not share his religious convictions.

Stephanie Mann had this post about on her Supremacy and Survival blog him last year:

There are other accounts of him at Blessed John Sandys from the Duiocese of Shrewsbury website and at John Sandys from the Robinswood Hill Roman Catholic parishes website.


Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Casting light on the interior of Salisbury's spire

An article in The Daily Telegraph the other day concerned a Salisbury Cathedral volunteer who has helped to cast light on the interior of the 180ft spire by paying £5,000 to have new light bulbs installed.
It is the tallest spire in Britain, with hundreds of thousands of visitors flocking to Salisbury Cathedral every year to walk up its 332 narrow steps and get a closer look at the fourteenth century architecture and the timber reinforcement inserted between 1346 and 1376 to stabilise the spire.

The illustrated article can be viewed here.

The French Succession

Two friends drew my attention to report in The Daily Telegraph about dissension between the Orleanist claimant to the French throne, the de jure King Henri VII, and his second son, Jean, about whether the latter should be, as his father intends, in effect, Regent for his disabled elder brother or whether as he thinks, should suceed to the headship of the House of France upon the present Head's decease. The article can be read at  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/09/pretender-to-frances-non-existent-throne-embroiled-in-succession/

The situation looks rather similar to the Bavarian situation in 1913 when the new Regent, Prince Ludwig, suceeded his father Prince Luitpold as Regent for King Otto, and then assumed the throne as King Ludwig III, although King Otto lived until 1916. Only then did King Ludwig assume sole and undisputed sovereignty over the realm.

Image result for French royal arms 

Arms of the King of France and Navarre 



Ambling Viking horses from York

The Daily Telegraph had a report the other day entitled "Scientists say prized ambling gait 'originated in York' as gene responsible for horses' funny walk traced."
Described as a comical waddling horse step known as the ambling gait it originated in or around  ninth-century York, and, being prized by the Vikings, was encouraged by them in horse breeding a study of DNA has found. The characteristic has over subsequent centuries travelled worldwide.

The illustrated article can be read here.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Oratory Monstrance

From the Oxford Oratory website:

 2nd Lieutenant Richard Walker R.I.P.


We have in our church a fine, silver monstrance, which has the following inscription: "Pray for Richard Walker  Killed in Action  9th August 1916". Today is the centenary of his death.





This photograph is by kind courtesy of the archivist of Downside.

Richard Walker was born on 24th April 1883, the only son of Charles William Walker of Holmshurst, Burwash, Sussex. He was educated at Downside School from 1894 to 1902, and came up to Christ Church from 1902–3, where he took a B.A.

The book Downside and the War 1914-1918 records that,
"In his last year at school "Dick" Walker passed the Higher Certificate in seven subjects and won the History, English Literature and Essay Prize, and the French Prize. He played cricket in the Second Eleven, and will be remembered by his contemporaries as the best boxer of his generation at Downside. He was an ideal Captain of the Boxing Club, most energetic and successful, and through his efforts, boxing became very popular in the School. He himself won the Challenge Cup several times, and being unchallenged in 1902, the cup became his absolutely. From Downside he went to Christ Church College, Oxford, and continued to distinguish himself as a boxer at the University.
Early in the War, in spite of great difficulties in the way, he joined the Artists' Rifles, volunteered for foreign service, and went to France with his battalion in October, 1914. He ultimately became a company sergeant-major, and in 1916 obtained a commission in the Lancashire Fusiliers."

Our thanks to the Archives of Downside Abbey and School for allowing us to use this information.

Killed in action at Trônes Wood, Richard Walker's name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 3C and 3D.



This photograph is from the Imperial War Museum. © IWM (HU 126967)

May he rest in peace.


Text and images: Oxford Oratory website