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.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

St Wulfstan of Worcester

Today is the feast of St Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester, who died in 1095.

There are online biographies of him here and here. The more comprehensive Oxford Dictionary of National Biography life by Emma Mason is available here.

St Wulstan was a fine pastor and was to be the only pre-Conquest bishop to retain his see until his death a generation after the Conquest. He worked with King William I and entered into the spirit of the reforms carried out under Archbishop Lanfranc.

Like his Norman contemporaries he rebuilt hios cathedral, and his biographer records how the bishop wept to see the old cathedral with all its associations being demolished whilst still rejoicing that a new and more splendid cathedral was to take its place. Of that cathedral only the beautiful crypt survives beneath the later medieval rebuilding. The restoration some years ago made it a wonderful place to visit and pray in.

St Wulfstan's Crypt at Worcester Cathedral

Photo:Paradox Place.com

Which leads me to share a thought. St Wulfstan's reaction to the rebuilding can be seen as analogy forthe situation facing Anglo-Catholics contemplating the Ordinariate. Memories of past glories and times should not blind one to the wonderful possibilities of a new structures and all that they can bring.

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