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.
This last few days over the Bank Holiday and since I have been able to enjoy something of a festival of traditional liturgy, or indeed, liturgies.
Last Saturday I was at Blackfriars here in Oxford for a celebration of the Dominican Rite by Fr Oliver Keenan O.P. - a young priest whom I had the privilege of teaching medieval church history in 2013.
On Sunday I travelled with a friend to Reading for Mass at the FSSP church of St William of York, so here was the 1962 Rite celebrated , and when we returned to Oxford we were able to go, as usual to traditional Vespers at the Oxford Oratory.
Monday saw another Dominican Rite Mass, this time at SS Gregory and Augustine, and celebrated by Fr Matthew Jarvis O.P., again a fine young priest from Oxford Blackfriars and whom I know from our membership of the committee of Churches Together in Central Oxford.
Today, Thursday, there was a celebration of a High Mass from the 1962 Missal for the feast of the English Martyrs at the Oxford Oratory - this is, of course in effect 'the Mass the Martyrs died for.' Given that historic claim it is a pity that some of the more vocal enthusiasts for the Traditional Liturgy were not there. I appreciate that not everyone can get to every such celebration, but I sometimes sense that some do not try as hard as others to support public celebrations of something they hold so dear.