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.
Yesterday afternoon I went up to London and arrived there in good time for my dinner engagement. This gave me the opportunity to call in at Westminster Cathedral so as to be able to renew in a Catholic church my baptismal promises on the anniversary of my christening. This I did just before the cathedral closed.
I then walked through the modern development opposite the cathedral piazza and came out on Buckingham Palace Road. After looking at the rather appealing items on sale in the window of the Buckingham Palace Shop I walked past the palace and into The Mall, and past Clarence House round and across Friary Court and past the Queen's Chapel into Pall Mall. There is still, despite the armed police at the Palace gates, something very relaxed and informal about the setting of these royal residences. At the same time they emanate a sense of continuity and stability far removed from the bustling comings and goings of politicians at Westmisnter and Downing Street. These are historic places, but the history is living.
My destination was the Oxford and Cambridge Club where I met up with a friend for dinner. This was, as I expected it to be, an eminently agreeable occasion, catching up on one another's news and having good food and wine. The O&C has very fine rooms, and is beautifully maintained and clearly popular. Inevitably we ran into another acquaintance from Oxford, before setting off homewards, arriving back in Oxford at 2.10 am, with the prospect of a meeting at 10am - which I made.