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.
Today was the Latin Mass Society's Oxford Pilgrimage in honour of the four martyrs of 1589 - the two priests Bl. George Nichols and Bl. Richard Yaxley, and the two laymen Bl. Thomas Belson and Bl. Humphrey Pritchard.
The well attended Mass was celebrated at Blackfriars according to the traditional Dominican Rite by Fr Oliver Keenan OP and the sermon was given by Fr Richard Conrad OP who also served as Deacon.
It was a great pleasure to meet up with my old friend, and indeed my sponsor when I was received as a Catholic in 2005, Br.Andrew from the Birmingham Oratory and some friends of his from the congregation there and to have lunch with them afterwards. I was then able to help Andrew show them around Oxford, concentrating especially on the life here of Bl. John Henry Newman. Being an Oriel man I was fortunately able to show them more of the college than they might otherwise have seen and to talk about Newman where he once lived.
Br. Andrew once paid me the compliment - the great compliment - in saying he thought I was like Newman in my pursuit of truth, indeed Truth, and which I found a very moving observation.
It was also a pleasure to see Fr Hunwicke and talk to him briefly after the Mass. Although we live in the same city our paths cross far too infrequently.