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, 8 June 2015

St William of York


June 8th is feast of St William of York, who died in 1154, and Gordon Plumb has posted the following piece, which I have slightly adapted, on the Medieval Religion discussion group:

William Fitzherbert was elected Archbishop of York by a majority of the cathedral chapter, defeating the Cistercian, Henry Murdac of Fountains Abbey. Murdac's supporters appealed to Rome on the grounds that Fitzherbert was a dissolute simoniac put into the see by King Stephen. Innocent II permitted the consecration if the charges against Fitzherbert were denied on oath. Lucian II, the next Pope but one sent him the pallium, which Fitzherbert did not bother to collect! The following Pope, the Cistercian Eugenius III suspended William on a technicality, and Murdac, now abbot of Fountains, was consecrated by Eugenius and William deposed, following the sacking of Fountains by William's supporters. William still had royal support and he went off to Winchester and lived, we are told, a saintly life. On the deaths of St Bernard, Eugenius and Murdac himself, the new Pope, Anastasius IV, reinstated William in 1153. William was reputed to have been subsequently poisoned, it is said, by the defeated party. He was canonized in 1227 by Honorius III. Miracles were reported at his tomb, including holy oil exuding from the tomb, a scene which is shown in one of the panels in the St William window in York Minster - see below.

Some images:

Oxford, Trinity College, Old Library, East windows:

York Minster, Great East window, 1f:
detail of rings embroidered on glove of St William of York:
detail, arms of St William as archbishop:

Morley, St Matthew, Derbyshire, sIII, 1c, St William with St John of Bridlington:


York Minster, nVII, St William window, in the north choir trnsept, given by Lord Ros of Helmsley castle in the fifteenth century - some details:

nVII, 22b, A man offering a leg at William's shrine:
Cripples collecting oil from William's tomb:
A released prisoner offering chains at shrine:
A woman praying at William's tomb:
Four men seeking cures at the tomb:
nVII, 1b, Robert and Richard, 4th and 5th sons of William 7th Baron Ros:
nVII, 1c, William Lord Ros and Margaret, Lady Ros:
nVII, 1e, Beatrice Dowager Lady Ros mother of William, 6th Baron Ros:
York Minster, wI, 2g-4g: St William and Sewall de Bovill:
Detail of apparel on William's alb:

York, St Michael-le-Belfrey, sVI, 2b, arms of St William in wreath:

York, St Michael-le-Belfrey, sIV, 3d-4d:
and detail:

York, Yorkshire Museum. western corner of St William's shrine, c.1471:


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