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 gather from the Internet through a post on the Royal Central site that the Duke of Cambridge was in Oxford today.
The post, slightly adapted and with some of my comments and explanations added in [ ] reads as follows:
" On Wednesday, the Duke of Cambridge travelled to Oxford to open Magdalen's completed Longwall Library which has been under construction for more than two years. His Royal Highness also opened the Blavatnik School of Government [ an ugly circular creation in glass between the Woodstock Road and Jericho ] and the Weston Library [ that is, what used to be the New Bodleian. this is an excellent resource for Library users, and for visitors, having permanent exhibition spaces, and a tea room. It has been open for use for about a year]
This library renovation was a multi-million pound project with a new wing added and the interior was gutted and tore out to make more room for reading areas and to let in more natural light. During this time, students have been using a tent they've lovingly named the “Marquee."
Renovating Longwall has been a project of hard work and long hours of dedication by many; donations from alumni and telethons held by current students and administrators to raise the £10.5 million necessary to see this project completed. The construction company contracted to work on the building put in thousands of hours as well. So with a project of this scope and magnitude, there is bound to be controversy.
There are some who don't think the Duke should be the one to open Longwall. First-year musician student from Magdalen Ted Mair is one isn't pleased with this idea.
He said: “Prince William has made it to his current position simply by being born to a certain father. This appears to me as exactly the kind of cultural elitism that Magdalene, as part of the University of Oxford, should be discouraging. As an institution trying to open its gates to students from as many walks of life as possible, this choice of guest seems like a step backwards."
Another source told Oxford Student Paper, Cherwell: “We have a great many Magdalene alumni who have achieved far more through their own endeavors than Prince William has by accident of birth. Why didn’t the college choose one of them?"
[ It always surprises me - well to some extent at least why it is that reporters bother to record such miserable little whiners on these occasions...]
There are those though, who believe it quite fitting for the Duke to have this honour. Oliver Baldwin is one such student who said: "This is an honour for the school. “I’m very excited about The Duke of Cambridge coming to open the new library. The Queen is a symbol of Britain and The Duke of Cambridge, as the future king, is a symbol of where Britain is going, always remaining relevant to each new generation."
[ Much better! ]
Sam Sherburn, the current Magdalen JCR President hopes the Duke will see the value of the building.
He said: “I’ve talked about Magdalen's New Library Project to more alumni than I care to remember across several Telethons It is a fantastic project and it is great to see it open at long last. I hope that the Duke of Cambridge will be able to see for himself the hard work and dedication of those involved in the project– and those revising for their exams, for whom the New Library is a much-needed asset!” "
The Clever Boy will add that he, and he suspects many others in Oxford, were not aware in advance of this visit. As I, and others indeed, have pointed out before, the University does not publicise these things well. I did see some preparations at the Weston Library the other day, but there was nothing to draw attention to what was scheduled.