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.
Thinking of visiting Oxford?
Allow me to be your guide... and discover the history of Oxford with an Oxford historian.
I offer a wide range of guided walks around the city and university. These can be a general introduction to the history and architecture or looking at specific themes and subjects.
I am a Catholic and a historian based in Oxford, where I am a member of Oriel College. My research, for a long delayed D.Phil., is a study of Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln in the second decade of the fifteenth century. I also work as a freelance tutor in History and as an independent tour guide.
I was received into the Church in 2005 and am a Brother of the External Oratory of St Philip Neri at the Oxford Oratory.
For part of the Forty Hours I was reading Hugh Ross Williamson's The Great Prayer. Published in 1955, when he was still an Anglican clergyman, it is a study of text of the Roman canon of the Mass. The following year he was received as a Catholic and the book may in part reflect the thoughts that led him to that decision. It has now been reissued by Gracewing with a new commendatory introduction by Bishop Alan Hopes and costs £9.99. There is a review from The Anglo Catholic which can be read here
Like that reviewer I would recommend the book to anyone interested as both a liturgical and historical introduction and as a book for spiritual reflection.
With the new translation of the Missal coming into use it is an excellent guide to this venerable prayer. The author stresses that this was the Mass text used by St Augustine in the first Mass he celebrated in this country on his mission of 597 - when he wrote it was no doubt an attempt to call Anglicans back to their patrimony. Now his book can serve to call Catholics back to their patrimony in this beautiful prayer which binds the Church together accross the centuries.