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, 2 July 2011

Books on St Margaret Clitherow


Amongst the books I am currently reading is Saint Margaret Clitherow by Katharine Longley, which was published in 1986, and is a readable and well researched account of the life of the York housewife who was martyred in 1586. It brings out her remarkable qualities as a devout woman, and also gives an insight into just what was possible for an urban wife to do and how she lived in the period. I wrote about St Margaret in April in my post Recusant women. Coming as I do from quite close to York I have always known the story of St Margaret, and the more I know about her the more interesting she proves to be.

A modern statue of St Margaret Clitherow

Image: Our Lady's catechists

Today I saw on Stephanie Mann's Supremacy and Survival blog a review of a new book by Peter Lake and Michael Questier on St Margaret which sets her in the context of the issues facing recusants in the later sixteenth century. Her post can be read at Book Review: The Trials of Margaret Clitherow. From the post this would appear to be an intersting contribution to our understanding of the world of Elizabethan recusancy.


3 comments:

  1. Thank you very much for the link! The book did add to my understanding of the conflict between the Recusants and the Appellants. The authors cite Longley's book consistently.

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  2. bishop williamson's menorah4 July 2011 at 20:33

    The current number of Christian Order carries a very negative review of the Lake-Questier book by Dr Anne Gardiner, accusing it of smearing St Margaret and "exculpating Judas" (Bell). Exhibiting the moderate tones for which that publication is so well known, we learn that "[w]hat this work amounts to, then, is an underhanded attack on the Catholic Church and its claim to infallibility... the authors contend that the sainthood of Margaret Clitherow is an invention of anti-Bell propaganda, a construction of a martyr for political ends... [the] entire book, then, is a sneer at the Catholic Church's process of canonisation."

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  3. Those who take the Gardiner review of the Lake/Questier book as revealed knowledge about that book's position on the martyrdom of St Margaret ought perhaps to look at the book itself to see if Gardiner represents its thesis accurately. I fear that she does not do so. To repeat her contention blindly is to resemble those Islamists who frequently and vehemently tell each other that Rusdie's The Satanic Verses is a terrible book without ever so much as having laid eyes on it. I'd urge more care among good Catholic intellectuals. The Lake/Questier book is actually a complex account of how St Margaret's martyrdom occurs and what her martyrdom means in the historical moment in which it occurs. Surely a worthy object of contemplation. Well, I find it so.

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