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, 14 August 2011

Devouring a Bishop

Yesterday afternoon with a group of friends I devoured, literally tore with my teeth, a Bishop in a parish hall.

Now lest any reader thinks that was some new militant initiative from either something of the "We Are Church" variety or an ultra-traditionalist move to reconfigure the Bishop's Conference I should perhaps explain that the Bishop was made of icing sugar, and decorated my birthday cake.

As I mentioned last week I recently attained the age of sixty and a group of friends very kindly, and generously, arranged a splendid birthday party on Saturday in the social centre at the Oxford Oratory. Amongst the comestibles was a birthday cake, which was decorated, thanks to the wonders of modern baking technology, with a sheet of icing sugar onto which was printed a copy of the painting of Bishop Richard Fleming. The original painting is one of a series done in the seventeenth century of Oxford college founders, and engraved for Ackerman in the early nineteenth century. i do not think it is based on a fifteenth-century original.

File:Archbishop Richard Fleming.jpg

The portrait of Bishop Richard Fleming

Image: Wikipedia

The idea was inspired and touching, and brought Richard Fleming to the party. However he did not remain - during the afternoon he was quite rapidly reduced to a head and shoulders, a head, and then just a mitre before he disappeared completely.

So now you know how to devour a bishop.

1 comment:

The Rad Trad said...

A belated happy birthday, John.

God bless,
Brendan Devine