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, 11 January 2012

Legal opinion

"Sir, the law is as I say it is, and so it has been laid down even since the law began; and we have several set forms which are held as law, and so held and used for good reason, though we cannot at present remember that reason."

- Sir John Fortescue, C.J. in Year Book. 36 Hen. VI ff 25b-26 (1458-9)

The account of the life of Sir John Fortescue (c.1397-1479), lawyer and writer on constitutional theory, by E.W.Ives in the Oxford DNB can be read here. Sir John is an ancestor of both the martyr Bl. Adrian Fortescue and of Fr Fortescue the liturgist.


The effigy of Sir John Fortescue in St Eadburga's Church, Ebrington Gloucestershire
Image: vitrearum on Flickr

With thanks for the quotation to George Ferzoco of the Medieval Religion discussion group.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Eric Voegelin has some interesting pages on Fortescue in his book, "The New Science of Politics."