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.

Thursday 7 April 2011

St Margaret Clitherow

Via the Hermeneutic of Continuity I have come across another online biography of St Margaret Clitherow which may be of interest to those who read my posts on Recusant women and the LMS Pilgrimage to York.


A modern statue of St Margaret Clitherow

Image: Catholic Women's League

It is by Daniel F. McSheffery and entitled St Margaret: Mother and Martyr and can be read here.

Here is a picture of the site of St Margaret's martyrdom.

Old Ouse Bridge and St William's Chapel, 1803 or 1805,

by John Varley, York Art Gallery

Image: historyofyork.org.uk

The medieval Ouse Bridge had become crowded with buildings. As well as houses and shops, the bridge supported St William’s Chapel at one end, which was transformed into apartments after the Reformation.

The thirteenth century chapel commemorated the saint-archbishop, who died in 1154, and whose prayers were believed to have saved those who fell into the river when the bridge collapsed upon his return to the city.

In the winter of 1564 snow, a frost, a sudden thaw and a flood caused the central arches to collapse again. Twelve houses fell into the river and 12 people drowned.

The new bridge, opened in 1566, had five arches, with the central one 81 feet wide and more than 17 feet high. The bridge had a chapel, St William's, on the south side of the river. The Council chamber was housed next to the chapel and the damp city gaol was below. It was one of the sights of the city.

It was in the gaol, in the basement of the desecrated chapel, that St Margaret died.

The bridge was cleared and rebuilt in the years after 1810, but a plaque marks the site of the chapel.

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