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.

Monday, 4 June 2012

A Jubilee beacon at Pontefract

On the BBC News following the Jubilee concert the reports on the celebrations included on eon the beacons lit across the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth to mark the Diamond Jubilee - over 4,000, twice the number the organisers had originally envisaged. The news report featured the beacon on the top of what remains of the keep at Pontefract castle, that is in my home town. It was not just that fact of local pride but the suitability of Pontefract that struck me.

In the sieges of 1644 and 1645 the Royalist garrison of the castle used baconds on the top of the Round Tower - that is the keep - to signal to their fellow Royalists at York and at Sandal castle. In the history of the monarchy it is the last siege of Pontefract in 1648-49 that is most significant as can be seen from my post from last year Post Mortem Patris Pro Filio.

This was just one more of the many links that bind the history of Pontefract, and particularly the castle, into the history of the monarchy, and vice versa. In the middle ages and down to the seventeenth century it was often a violent and sensational story but one that fired my imagination for the history of the period, and for the study of both castles and crowns. As part of the local celebrations of the Silver Jubilee in 1977 I gave a talk on the town's links with the Crown -it was one of those lectures I meant to write up and publish, but never have done.

1 comment:

John F H H said...

Now, as a native of that town, can you settle the question of pronunciation... is it Pom'fret ( as I was taught when young) pr, as I hear in the media, Pont-e-fract?

Kind regards..I much enjoy your blog

John U.K.