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.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The Assumption in Brighton

Having celebrated the Assumption on its transferred date on Sunday I took myself off to see my friends at St Mary Magdalen Brighton for their Extraordinary Form celebration with a low Mass yesterday evening.

Difficulties on the way with transport, credit cards and hotels began to look like a diabolical assault, but I managed to attend the Mass, celebrated by Fr Blake, and ending with the singing of the Salve Regina before a candle bedecked Lady Chapel altar.

church interior

The Lady Chapel
Photo from St Mary Magdalen Brighton parish website

The reredos of the altar is in mid-fourteenth century style and was, I am given to understand, painted by a previous parish priest to create the impression of what was the medieval practice in such matters. Although some of his colour scheme is not perhaps that close to the middle ages - for example the Christ Child in salmon pink is perhaps a little unlikely for a medieval colour scheme - but it is a reminder of the lavish use of colour in the fourteenth century. The overall effect is nevertheless rather charming.

Mass was followed by celebratory drinks and several of us went off for an excellent Italian meal. So, despite the difficulties encountered en route, it proved to be a very enjoyable evening with friends and a genuine celebration of Our Lady's entrance into eternal bliss.

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