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.
St John's College Oxford - Laudian and other vestments on show on show
On Saturday March 3rd from 2pm until 5pm the Laudian vestments will again be on view at St John's College here in Oxford. Admission is free to see this fascinating collection. They are usually on show each term in their specially constructed display room. That they have survived is no small wonder - it is said that they were recovered from the 'dressing up box' of a nineteenth century President of St John's children or grandchildren.
The collection includes two banners made for the dedication of the college chapel when it was refounded as St John's in 1555 by Sir Thomas White. These very rare survivals would doubtless have been seen by such recusant martyrs as st Cuthbert mayne and Sy Edmund Campion who were both members of the college.
There are also late medieval vestments said to have been given by Archbishop Laud - a former President and great benefactor of St John's - and, perhaps most poignant, his violet scull cap which he wore on the scaffold in January 1645. The archbishop is buried in the college chapel, his body having been moved there at the Restoration in fulfillment of his will.
If you are in or near Oxford on March 3rd and at all interested in such things (and what right thinking person is not?) I would urge you to go along and see these remarkable treasures.