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.
I have again been compiling a list of History books for the Library Committee of the Oxford Union to consider for purchase, and I thought readers might be interested to see what I recommended.
Jonathan Harris "The Lost World of Byzantium"
Yale U P
RRP £l0.99 A well reviewed book which looks at specific case histories tio illustrate teh life of the Empire and its culture
Bryan Sykes "Blood of the Isles: Exploring the genetic roots of our tribal history"
Stephen Oppenheimer "The Origins of the British"
RRP £12.99 Two books on recent research into what makes us who we are and what makes us think and act as we have done over the centuries depending on our ancestry and background
Philip Parker "The Northmen's Fury: A History of the Viking World"
RRP £9.99 A good and readable account of a topic with wide appeal to readers
Michael Pye "The Edge of the World: How the North Sea made us who we are"
RRP £9.99 A new take on some of the themes in the previous three books. Years ago I suggested the concept of a common North Sea littoral culture in the middle ages to my academic supervisor who was inclined to dismiss it. Michael Pye makes a good case for there being one, and has written in the process a very entertaining book
Frank McLynn "Ghengis Khan:The Man who Conquered the World"
RRP £25.00 World history, but also very important to that of Europe. Kievian Russia collapsed under the Mongol advance, and in the 1240s central Europe barely survived the onslaught *
E. A. Jones "England's Last Medieval Monastery: Syon Abbey 1415-2015"
RRP £9.99 I have already posted about this book, a history of the Bridgettine house which survived - against so many odds -until a few years ago
Jonathan Sumption "Divided Houses:The Hundred Years War III " and "Cursed Kings: The Hundred Years War IV"
Faber and Faber
RRP £40.00 We already have the first two volumes of Lord Sumption's magisterial history of the war and these are established as major studies
Helen Castor "Joan of Arc"
RRP £9.99 Always a popular topic and Dr Castor is a well known authority on the period
Roger Crowley "Conquerors: How Portugal seized the Indian Ocean and Forged the First Global Empire"
Faber and Faber
RRP £20.00 The rise to global prominence of a small kingdom in the far west of Europe, and reinforces our Iberian history section
Alexander Roob "Alchemy and Mysticism: The Hermetic Museum"
RRP £12.99 A topic of interest to historians of the early modern period in particular and to students of literature, art, theology and the history of science
Tim Blanning "Frederick the Great King of Prussia"
RRP £ 10.99
2016 pbk Timothy Blanning always writes with great insight and skill about the eighteenth century, and this is one of its central figures
Jonathan Fenby "The History of Modern France: From the Revolution to the Present Day"
Simon and Schuster
2016 pbk Likely to become a standard work on the country
Edward J Coss "All for the King's Shilling: The British Soldier under Wellington 1808-1814"
University of Oklahoma Press
RRP £16.44 A study of the make up and functioning of the army which fought through the Peninsula campaigns to the eve of final victory at Waterloo, and pointing to the resilience and versatility of the troops
Barney White-Spunner "Of Living Valour: The story of the soldiers of Waterloo"
Simon and Schuster
RRP £25.00 A similar theme, this time looking at the army which won two centuries ago
David Laven and Lucy Riall (eds) "Napoleon's Legacy: Problems of Government in Restoration Europe"
RRP £18.99 A set of revisionist essays showing the vitality and subtlety of early to mid-nineteenth century European governments
Ben Wilson "Empire of the Deep: The Rise and Fall of the British Navy"
RRP £12.99 A single volume history of the Royal Navy illustrating its place in making Britain the imperial power she was
Alfred Mitchell "Recollections of one of the Light Brigade"
Crimean War Research Society/Lulu. CWRS special Publication 31
RRP £6.75 A reprint of what is said to be the best memoir by a soldier of service in the Crimea
Richard Bassett "For God and Kaiser: The Imperial Austrian Army 1619-1918"
Yale U P
RRP £25.00 The first study of this important institution and a significant contribution to the re-evaluation of the history of the Habsburg Empire
David Stone "The Kaiser's Army: The German Army in World War I"
RRP £30.00 A detailed history of the army and how it functioned, eminently suitable in the time of centenary commemorations
Georgina Howell "Queen of the Desert : The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell"
RRP £9.99 A recent Book of the Week on Radio 4 - the life of the British Arabist woman who more or less created the post-Ottoman Iraqi state
At the meeting yesterday the Library Committee accepted the list, but a few books were deferred until they will be available in paperback next spring or summer.
* And before anyone thinks it, when I have, on at least one occasion, been told "John, you are to the Right of Ghengis Khan" my reply was, and is, " Of course I am, as should be any civilised person. Ghengis Kkan is a typical Leftie, destroying everything in his path."