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, 4 March 2012

St Chad at York

Rather as I observed in my post about St Oswald of Worcester so also St Chad does not appear to have had much of a cult at York where he had served as Bishop in the absence of St Wilfrid, making way for him on his return from the continent and going as a missionary to Mercia. It was at Lichfield that devotion to him flourished in later centuries. However that there was continuing devotion at York can be seen in this early fifteenth century window from the north choir aisle of the Minster.


A window given by Robert Wolvenden, Treasurer of York Minster 1426-1432. (The borders contain RW with lion's heads and suns).

Left light: St Chad and below him three scenes:
1) Chad saves a hart with crucifix between antlers with king and queen looking on;
2) King Wulfere slays his sons
3) Chad on his deathbed.

Centre light: St Paulinus and below him three scenes:
1) Paulinus consecrated bishop;
2) Paulinus preaching before King Edwin and nobles;
3) the donor, Robert Wolvenden, at prayer.

Right light: St Nicholas and below him:
1) Steward pours money into bag;
2) Conversion of Jew: dishonest Christian under cart;
3) St Nicholas rescues three boys in tub.

Image: Gordon Plumb on Flickr

The fact that St Chad is placed alongside St Paulinus, the founder of the see of York, and St Nicholas, a paradigm of episcopal ministry, does suggest a continuing appreciation of St Chad's achievements and holiness at York.

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