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.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

St Nicholas Owen

Had today not been a Sunday it would have been, in this archdiocese, the feast day of St Nicholas Owen. 

Statue of Nicholas Owen

St Nicholas was the Jesuit laybrother who used his remarkable skills as a carpenter and stonemason to construct numerous ingenious priest holes to safeguard mission priests in the late sixteenth century. Born in Oxford  c.1550 in a house on the junction of what is now Queen Street and St Ebbe's Street he died as a result of torture in the Tower of London on March 2nd 1606, having been apprehended in the follow-up to the Gunpowder Plot.

There are biographies of St Nicholas, who was canonized in 1970, here, and here, and here.

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