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.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

No riot, just a baptism

Yesterday was St Scholastica's day, and, as far as I could see, a considerably more peaceful one than that of 1355 in Oxford. The riot on that occasion was the worst, or at very least the most famous, in the history of Town-Gown conflict in the city. There is a brief account of it here, and a more detailed one here, and there is another essay about it here.

However this year I did witness a happier celebration of the saint's feast when I attended the baptism and first communion of a young lady who, in honour of the feast, took Scholastica as an additional baptismal name. She moved to Oxford some months ago and has been under instruction from Fr Saward at the church of SS Gregory and Augustine. Both the baptism and the Mass which followed it were in the Extraordinary Form. Several of us had not attended the baptismal liturgy in that form before and were impressed by its studied dignity and ceremonies.

Afterwards we celebrated with a reception that was warm and friendly - but not riotous I hasten to add - in the Presbytery and wished the neophyte well on her continuing pilgrimage of faith.

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