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.


Monday, 9 August 2010

Beside the seaside

Yesterday I treated myself to a pre-birthday excursion to Brighton (and before you even think it, no, I was NOT going to the Brighton Pride event).

What I did do was set off from Oxford early to travel via London so as to arrive at St Mary Magdalen's for Mass at 10.30. I knew the church through Fr Blake's excellent St Mary Magdalen, Brighton blog - a daily piece of required reading on my part - and visited it for the first time last year. I went again this year and was delighted again by what I found there. Fr Blake offers a dignified liturgy for a lively, varied and sizeable congregation in a handsome and charming building. It was good to see that the restoration project there has made significant progress in the last year. The parish website is here, and I have added it to the blogroll. It is definitely a church to both visit and at which to worship.

church extrior

church interior

St Mary Magdalen Church, Upper North Street, Brighton


After Mass I had an opportunity to meet Fr Blake again and to talk to him, and also to meet Laurence England whose That The Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill blog offers an informed and critical view of social conditions in Brighton and Hove from a Catholic standpoint - well worth reading. I was also introduced to the blog The Noise of the Crusade, also well worth looking at, combining erudition and forcefulness.

After that it was time to adjourn to the public house across the road and have lunch with Andrew Wagstaff, a good and valued friend from Oxford, and who acted as my sponsor at my reception into the Church. He now is now a barrister based in Brighton and serves at St Mary Magdalen.

As in days of yore in the Eagle and Child in Oxford we spent the afternoon putting the Church and the world to rights as well as sharing ''human interest stories" (gossip) over a few drinks. He then had to go and prepare a case whilst I made my way back to the station and so home.

The day was warm and sunny, the company good, as was the worship, and the food and drink, and the parish welcoming. Add to all that the great pleasure of spending time with a long-standing friend - well, what more could one ask for on a day by the sea?

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