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.
As the Brexit juggernaut rumbles up into half throttle I am led to think, as someone who voted Remain - and who nevertheless has precious little love for the way the EU runs itself - and as the whole organism shows increasing signs of political and institutional failure, that staying in and seeking to reform it or waiting for it to disintegrate and then reconstructing it on more sensible lines would have been a better choice for the British people.*
Which long sentence leads me to paraphrase Bl. John Henry Newman and observe that ten thousand difficulties do not amount to a single doubt in my mind but that we should be IN Europe, not OUT.
* A German friend once observed of a piece I was writing "You write very long sentences John." Coming from someone whose native language delights in compound words I took it as quite a compliment.