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.
Late this afternoon as I hurried towards the ortaory for Mass I was suddenly approached by a lady on St Giles Street and asked " Excuse me, are you British?" I replied that I was and found that my interlocutor was a German journalist who asked if I was willing to be interviewed for an article she was writing about attitudes to the impending birth of the first child of TRH the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Now of all the people to stop in the street and ask about attitudes to the monarchy - well she picked well in homing into me I think.
I said I was indeed very willing, provided I was not delayed getting to Mass. I was assured that the interview would be brief, as it proved to be.
I was asked about my attitude towrds the birth of the future monarch; it is very positive - I am a staunch Monarchist. What were my hopes for the child? I said that they were what one would hope for any child, for its health and welfare.
What name did I favour? I said I thought a boy would probbaly have a traditional name for a British monarch - perhaps not William to avoid confusion, but perhaps George, or Charles, and that a daughter again might well follow precedent - maybe Elizabeth in honour of the Queen.
That conclued the interview - along with asking my name, but not, I noticed, the all important thing in our newspapers, of one's age. I asked the lady where she came from in Germany - from near Stuttgart I found out - and told her in a vainglorious moment, of the existence of this blog and that I had recently written about the rebuilding of the Berlin Stadtschloss. She said this was proving controversial in her country, as I knew, but she said she would look at the blog.